By now everyone knows that Kim Kardashian West was robbed at gunpoint during her Paris trip for fashion week.
When you hear the details of exactly what happened to her, it’s pretty scary. Can you imagine if someone (or five people yikes!) burst into your hotel room or home, brandishing guns, in masks, and demanding your best jewels? When you put yourself in her shoes, if you have a heart, you can’t help but feel horrible for her. No one should have to go through anything like that.
Granted 99.9 percent of the world doesn’t have the kind of wealth that she has. I can’t imagine having 6 million dollars of jewelry lying around nearby me without an armed guard present. I don’t think anyone wants to rob me for my BaubleBar costume jewelry. For the most part, I don’t think Kim K is normally without security, but sources say she had sent her bodyguard out with her sisters that night, feeling safe in her Paris apartment where her husband has maintained a residence for about five years now. So she’s been there many times and felt safe. What she did do wrong was Snapchat her exact location leading up to going out that day, and coming home that night very late. Normal people shouldn’t do that. Famous people usually don’t unless you are a Kardashian. Uh oh, is Kim at fault for putting herself in a bad spot? Well no. But it’s complicated.
Is Social Media Really At Fault?
Here is the true fact. Her social media presence led to her getting robbed. It’s just that simple. The question then becomes, how open can people actually be on social media? Are locations services on your phone going to lead to more and more people getting robbed or hurt? Stalked? Having common sense about social media posting as an average person is smart. Being a celebrity, you would think Kim K would know better. Clearly she didn’t.
Posting Unnecessary Pictures
How much does Kim flaunt her wealth? Well according to her Instagram account, quite a bit. You’ve seen both of her fantastically huge diamond rings. One is her engagement ring and the other, which was stolen, was a 20 carat emerald cut diamond present from her husband that is estimated to be worth 4 million dollars. Here’s the kicker though, even if she didn’t post her extreme wealth and enviable possessions on social media, the paparazzi would have posted pictures of her wearing her expensive things, so she really can’t win at that game. Her posts just add fuel to the fire.
There’s just no way to hide when you are routinely photographed in worldwide publications, online websites and real-time video uploads. What she can do is stop Snapchatting her location when her safety could be at risk. From what her network of people are saying and her lack of appearances and post’s since the robbery, Kim and the whole Kardashian clan are going to reevaluate how they present themselves on social media.
How To Protect Yourself
There are some hard and fast rules about how to protect yourself on social media. They may seem like common sense, but not everyone is being so careful. For one thing, don’t ever post that you are going away on vacation. If you must post photos of your amazing trip to Fiji, do it after the fact when you return. Make it clear that you are back.
Another tip to follow is to be careful about showing too much of your home publicly. Thieves can figure out your address, floor plan, and even if you have a security system just by looking at photos you post in your home. Take care to not focus on too many identifying factors with your photos that thieves or stalkers can pick up on.
With so many ways to “manage” your information, I found that it really comes down to what types of apps you are using to truly understand your protection options. Below are some commonly used apps and a quick way to check your security settings to ensure you are in control of what data is being shared.
- Facebook – Facebook is by far one of the most impressive social media sites in history and with over 1.55 billion users, it is no wonder many people find themselves in precarious situations when it comes to their privacy. Checking your profile settings is key to having a secure and protected Facebook page and you can change who has access to your profile through these settings. To check your settings, go to settings > privacy. From this location you can set who can see your posts, who can contact you directly and even who can look you up in a generic search. This gives you direct access to how your information is being displayed online and who can see that private information.
- Snapchat – Snapchat allows you to send photos or videos to your friends, however, the content disappears in a few seconds to the viewer. Thing is, unless your account is set to “friends only” anyone can send you a snap, as well as view your publicly set uploads and location. They also have a “stories” section that is very similar to a Facebook newsfeed and remains visible to those depending on your privacy settings. Again, be sure your account is set to “friends only” to keep your content private from online stalkers.
- Craigslist – Another very popular site that offers a wide range of services, information and even networking options is Craigslist, which is notorious for its risk of information. Ever heard of the Craigslist Killer? While not related to tracking individuals based on online information, it does give you a stark reminder that all sorts of people are online fishing for victims. To protect your privacy on Craigslist here are the basics. 1. Use a Handle – this can hide your personal email and information giving you an extra level of protection. 2. Never post your direct phone number or email address. Craigslist offers a convenient masking option when you post to their site redirecting to an anonymous email address when communicating with other users. If you are selling on CL never meet the buyer alone. If they purchased a piece of furniture, or something of that nature and you must meet in person, be sure to have a friend or family member present during pickup or delivery.
- Twitter – Known for its constant and frequent updates, Twitter is by far one of the most used accounts on the list when it comes to constant updates. While offering a level of security to its users, you can help to protect yourself by changing some settings. To locate your settings to go your profile, click on settings, and go to privacy and settings. From here you can limit who can “tag” you in photos, protect who can retweet your content, change the location finder feature of your tweets and even protect people from searching using your email or phone number.
- Foursquare – A popular app that notifies your friends of places you are visiting by giving a quick location update. Foursquare often times is a target for those looking to stalk or track your movement. Using Foursquare can be a fun and enjoyable way to share your discoveries, but understanding that this also proves to be an easy way to know where you are at any given time, knowing how to protect yourself is key when using this app. One thing to be aware of is that Foursquare has a settings that allows you to be tracked and posted on location without your app even being open. This is the number one risk to using Foursquare as it doesn’t allow you to control when you post your locations. To change this setting, go to your settings page, account privacy. Look for the check box that indicates checking in when app is not active and uncheck that option. You can also unlink your Facebook account to your Foursquare profile to give an added level of security.
- Tagging – Depending on your settings, when you are “tagged” in a post or image in someone else’s account it is visible to all of their friends, your friends and anyone else who happens to be tagged in the picture, and all of their friends. So, basically everyone. If you do not know their settings or are unsure, my best advice would be to untag yourself and if desired, repost whatever it may be on your personal page. Understand, that even if you “do not allow it on your timeline”, unless you untag yourself it is still visible to everyone I previously mentioned. Complete strangers can tag you in obscene images or posts that are visible to your friends and family that have no relevance to you at all, so make sure your notifications are set at all times to be alerted when you are tagged online. Personally, I do not tag anyone without their permission.
The last tip, which has been mentioned above numerous times, is to check all of your devices for location trackers. This includes your smartphone, laptops, and tablets. You just never know who is watching. Kim K was okay with the entire world watching her every move. That opened her up to being invaded in a very personal way in a private residence. Don’t be naive like she was, unless you don’t value your personal safely and prize social media above all else. It’s not worth it.