Over the years, social media networks have expanded exponentially, serving many communities in many ways. Unfortunately, such popularity can create vulnerability to exploitation, especially with many users not being careful enough to mitigate risks. Here is some advice to help prevent being compromised by hackers and other deceiving types:

1. For any platform that shares your identity, check your settings to ensure no unnecessary personal information, such as phone numbers and email and home addresses can be revealed. Always be cautious about postings or using search options that reveal medical, financial or other information about yourself or family members.

2. Do not download apps on a whim. It’s important to understand exactly what you’re getting – and what you may be giving up – by reading the terms of agreement, and also noting details whenever they are changed. Be leery of gimmicks like quizzes and other bait that extract profile-seeking information.

3. Confine confidential exchanges to specific off-platform conversations, and only with those you know and trust. Don’t “befriend” those you don’t know – they could, in fact, be robotic data miners.