I was speaking to a group of citizens lately and one of them asked me a question regarding Facebook.

The question was if you should be concerned if you post pictures and comments regarding your travels while you are away. The answer was a very clear, yes, especially if you have an identifying information regarding where you live on your Facebook page.

Your privacy settings also come into play in such situations. But the safe thing is to not post pictures or share comments to your page until you return from your travels.

For example, let’s say that you have your privacy settings set to just your friends. Well, now you post pics about your vacation that show up in your friends feed. Then one or more of your friends share the pics for some reason. Now the fact you’re on vacation is visible to whomever can see their page.

Sadly in this age of technology, the bad guys troll social media looking for victims. Then, one day during their trolling, they see that John Smith in Inverness is gone on a 7-day cruise with a picture of him and his family boarding the ship. That tells the bad guy that their residence will probably be empty for the next few days.

Now, some people might say if the page doesn’t give an address, it is ok. Well, that is not necessarily correct.

There are several ways to determine where someone lives. A very simple way is to look the person up in the phone book. There are also many different websites that allow you to ascertain such information free of charge. So rather than risk having an unhappy surprise upon your return, wait and share your pictures and comments after you get back home.

Knowing what is going on in our community and our neighborhoods is important. Many people rely on the TV news, radio or the newspaper for such information. However, this information often is broad and not specific to any particular area or you have to search to find it.

Well, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) shares a wealth of information on its website (www.sheriffcitrus.org), Facebook and Twitter. In addition, you can sign up for Alert Citrus (via the website) so you can receive important information regarding severe weather, missing individuals and other on-going emergency situations. The benefit is this information is focused on Citrus County and not a larger area. So, when you get a chance, check out the agency website and Facebook page to see what is there.

As a reminder, please don’t forget about our upcoming Fraud Prevention Forum that the CCSO is co-sponsoring with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This informational seminar will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Citrus Springs Community Center located at 1570 W. Citrus Springs Blvd. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the event running from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Presenters from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, IRS and CCSO, to include Sheriff Prendergast, will be on hand to share information and answer questions.

So if you have not yet registered online, don’t worry about it, just come to the event and you can register that day. This is an opportunity to receive some very good information that may help you avoid a difficult situation. Hope to see you there.

Lee Alexander oversees the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer programs.

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