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  • Writer's pictureBurton Kelso, Tech Expert

How To Stay Safe On NextDoor


How to Avoid Virtual Kidnapping Scams.


You've probably heard of Nextdoor, the social media app that's designed for you and your neighbors to connect with each other. Like other social media apps such as Meta, Linkedin, Snapchat and Pinterest, Nextdoor prioritizes the safety and privacy of user and have measures in place to help you have an enjoyable experience. However, where there are people, there are local and international cyber crooks who are looking to harass and scam you. With NextDoor being focused on your neighborhood connections, it's important that you take extra steps to keep you and your family safe. Check out the following tips to stay safe and secure when using this neighborhood-centered app and website.


Hey, We're All Neighbors. One of the best things about Nextdoor is when you set up an account, it uses your geographic location. Verification is done via your smartphone billing address and by an SMS verification process which is essentially 2 step verification. This should give you peace of mind knowing that the people you connect and communicate on Nextdoor are real people and not bot accounts like you can encounter on other social media platforms. However, you still need to use caution.


NextDoor Privacy Policy Works Like Other Social Media Networks.  Nextdoor may work a little differently than other social media networks, but they collect your data as well just like every other social media app you're using. Collecting your data is one of the ways social media apps can survive. As the old goes for free products on the web,"If you're not paying for the product, then you're the product" Whenever your use Nextdoor. it collects information from your browser and devices. This means that if you use Nextdoor on multiple devices (your computer, your phone, your tablet), then it collects data from all those places.


Hide Your Address. One of the most important privacy features you have is ability to hide your address from everyone in your neighborhood and beyond. Unfortunately, your connections will still be able to see your street name, but they can't see your full address. This is helpful to protect you and your family from online bullying activity such as doxing. To verify your address is hidden, do the following: Select your profile picture in the top right and then select Settings > Privacy. Look for the Show address to my neighborhood as setting and select the option that only displays your street name.


Build Up Your Personal Firewall. You may think cyber crooks aren't interested in your Nextdoor account, but remember any social media account is a target to criminals. This means you should protect your Nextdoor account like you would your bank. Strong passphrases and enabling 2 step authentication on your account is a must.


Watch What You Post. When you post to NextDoor, your whole neighborhood sees what you post. This is helpful if you're trying to share important alerts about an item for sale or a lost pet. Nextdoor doesn't currently have a feature that allows you to post to select neighbors. If you want to send private messages, use the DM or direct message feature.


Investigate Those Recommendations. One of the great things about NextDoor is you can get recommendations from your neighbors. However, just because you see a recommendation on Nextdoor, doesn't mean the business or person is going to do a good job. There have been reports of people hiring contractors for home repairs, only to be left with an incomplete or botched project after having paid thousands of dollars. Make sure you research businesses by reading online reviews, asking for references. Also, check qualifications and certifications. Additionally, privately message your neighbors you know who've done business with them and ask about their experience.


Watch Out for Crooked People.  Scams are everywhere online, including Nextdoor. Fraudulent content, phishing, you name it, you will encounter it on the app. Cybercrime is a human problem and you are your best defense to stay from scams and shams. Use common sense. If it feels like a scam, it probably is.


Hopefully, this will help you use Nextdoor and stay safe. If you post personal information and ignore other privacy and security no-nos, you are bound to fall victim to some of the scams that have plagued Nextdoor. If you have any questions, please reach out. I'm always available.


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The above content is provided for information purposes only. All information included therein is subject to change without notice. I am not responsible for any direct or indirect damages, arising from or related to the use of or reliance on the above content.




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