Ten and twenty years ago, the world of the Internet was solely a source of information-a digital encyclopedia of current and historic events. Gradually, and at times, even explosively, it evolved to also being a forum for social interaction-witness social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Twitter. Moreover, the use of these sites is ubiquitous; as of October 2012, Facebook had more than 1.01 billion users worldwide. In fact, you too are a social media user.
As a social media user, it is very important that you are very aware: Insurance companies are engaging in a practice that has been termed “social media mining.” They hire private detectives to monitor your accounts in search of possible cases of insurance fraud and/or high-risk behavior. And if they find evidence that you are engaged in risky behavior, they feel that they have grounds to increase your premium.
The insurance company investigators begin their work by first going to Facebook or Twitter to see what you are up to. For this reason, it is vital that you remember: In the world of today’s social media, every picture, every status update, and every tweet is public. Private detectives will and do find out everything about you, depending on your privacy settings, and report what appear to be unethical instances to your insurance company. Warning: Do NOT be that person who claims to have been injured in an accident and is seeking damages from insurance company, and then post a photo of yourself on Facebook dancing the Watusi in a nightclub.
Indeed the Internet world has changed a great deal, but remember: It is still a source of information-about you.