by John Graden

If you were one of the 14,000 people stuck in the Louisiana Superdome during Hurricane Katrina, would you walk around and hand out CDs with video and images of your life? Your birthday?  What your kids names, ages, interests, birthdays are, and where they go to school? Of course not. That would be insane.

While there were no doubt many law abiding citizens stuck in the Superdome, there were also rapists, robbers, drug dealers and users and gangs looking for and attacking soft targets.

SocialNetworking How Facebook is Like Hurricane Katrina–7 Tips to Stay Safe Online.

That is also a fair description of Facebook or Twitter or any other online community. When you are posting online, keep in mind that there will always be:

  1. The safest third.
  2. The not-so-safe middle third.
  3. The highly dangerous bottom third.

When it comes to the highly dangerous bottom third, some are transparent in their aggressive hostility and easy to see and avoid. However, it’s the more cunning psychopath that is more difficult to recognize because they are experts at playing the good guy and gaining favor.

Psychopaths can be smart people that makes them all the more dangerous. By definition, a psychopath lacks empathy, remorse, and kindness.

Any bad guy you have to deal with before, during, and after a showing is playing a role. He is like a street performer for an ever-rotating audience of victims. From the time, he contacts you he will stay in character until he executes his plan, or he bails out.

Pulling off that charade is a whole lot easier now that he can prepare for his role using free and easy tools online to create an identity and follow your trail.

For $9.95 at Moo.com, he can have cool looking business cards saying he is Melvin Grant, CPA or any other persona. On Facebook, he may be able to find out what college you attended. What sports teams you like. How many kids you have and where you like to vacation. He can even see highly detailed images of where you work, live, and where he is going to meet you for a showing.

His ability to, “pull-off his role” is magnified because it’s much easier to create rapport with target audiences than ever before.

Social media and the web has changed the landscape for criminals. As convenient as the cyber-world makes doing business, it’s not just making it easier for the good guys; it’s making it a whole lot easier for bad guys.

cuffs How Facebook is Like Hurricane Katrina–7 Tips to Stay Safe Online.

Here some tips to make it more difficult for bad guys to choose you for their next performance.

  1. Keep your social media identity focused solely on your real estate business. Identity control is an important early realization. As much as you want to show the world your new granddaughter, it’s far better to show your new property. It can’t be kidnaped and held for ransom.
  1. Posting your birth date, and that of your family is increasing in risk as bad guys are getting creative at cross-referencing information to find out information they can use for bad intentions.
  1. Some businesses, like restaurants, encourage you to “check in” in exchange for a promotional bribe. Think twice about letting the world know where you are at. If you check in for a workout, bad guys know you are at the gym for at least 30-minutes. Checking in for a movie is even a longer window of opportunity.
  1. What you may think is an innocent asset to the property can signal attack for a bad guy. Descriptions like, “Enjoy your privacy in this remote setting…” can be an invitation for trouble. Remote privacy is exactly what the bad guy wants.
  1. Post your professional contact information online only. Keep your personal information private.
  1. Ask yourself, would I want my employer or children to read this post? Depending on your situation, both may.
  1. Remember, what goes online, stays online.
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