investigator

Social Media Background Checks Are Not Just For Employment!

How insurance companies and your next date are making sure you’re not lying

In a post I made about a month ago, Social Networking is an Extension of You, I pointed out how the FCC has now given the green light for social media background checks. However, employers are not the only ones that are using social media to see the character of a possible employee.

Fox News reported in a story called Woman Losses Disability Due to Facebook Posts, how insurance companies are using social media to expose insurance fraud. While I applaud the decrease of insurance fraud, because not only does it cost everyone when premiums go up to cover the cost of claims, it’s just downright wrong. However, it illustrates the point I made in my previous post; what you put on social media may come back to haunt you!

The woman in question was on disability for a back injury that supposedly prevented her from sitting for long periods of time. However, she posted that she took a trip to China, which requires sitting for extremely long periods and that she enjoyed vacuuming (okay… that’s a first). So if you can’t sit at work for eight hours, how can you fly for about 24 hours and push a vacuum?

In her defense, she said that she upgraded her seat to business class so that she could recline. Whether that is true or not, had she not been posting her life on the Internet for all to see, this would not have been an issue. you fly for about 24 and push a vacuum?

I recently spoke with a friend who had a very bad experience with a former spouse. She confided in me that she now does her very own social media background checks on potential boyfriends, to ensure she doesn’t end up with a creep. Again, I applaud her due diligence, but the topic of this post is: be careful what you post. If you’d be ashamed to share it with your mother, spouse, Pastor or dearest friend, why are you posting it on Facebook?

In the same post mentioned above, I spoke about facial recognition software and how Google purchased PittPatt (a facial recognition software company from Pittsburgh). While Google recently said they wouldn’t deploy facial recognition in search technology, as it was too powerful a feature to release, Facebook on the other hand sees it as a way to outdo its rival, Google. PC World, in an article titled Facial Recognition Technology: Facebook Photo Matching Is Just the Start and in Facebook Photo Tagging: A Privacy Guide says Facebook is not only doing this, but they opted everyone in by default.

I only say this because some people think they can post raunchy pictures online, under pseudonyms and think they will never be found out. Since mostly everyone has a Facebook profile (or at least 750 million people, are you one of them?) privacy gets murkier and murkier.

While most people are very wise about their privacy, teenagers seem to think that they live in a force field that will prevent bad things from happening to them. It’s always the OTHER person who gets caught, sick, addicted, pregnant, etc. While that is enough of an issue to deal with in itself, they take this same carefree attitude when it comes to posting their crazy whims online. What may be popular to a small circle of friends and every like-minded kook who combs through social-media profiles looking for something juicy to gossip about, will not be so popular when you’re out of high school and starting a real life.

So be wise, be modest, have fun but don’t live life online. After all, some things were not meant to be shared; they were meant to be enjoyed in private with the right person.

Have you ever posted something you regret or know someone who has? Share your story and hopefully we can educate the next generation before everyone knows all the gossip.

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Eddie Velez

CEO and Founder at Success by Design
Eddie Velez is a marketing professional, designer and author. He has contributed to many portals like "Media Connections," "The 5 Minute Business Mind" and others. He has also contributed the chapter on the Internet and Websites for "Secrets of Successful Inventing: Sixteen Experts Spill the Beans." Eddie writes on many topics and has been a ghost writer and editor for authors and consultants. If you want Eddie Velez to contribute to your business content, portal or blog, contact him to discuss your particular needs.
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