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Practice personal safety, security

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- With more information than ever available in the public realm, everyone has the responsibility to safeguard sensitive information, both on the job and at home. Information that may seem harmless by itself can be pieced together with other information to form a more complete and sometimes harmful picture by our adversaries.

There are a few steps Airmen and their families can take to help ensure their personal safety and security.

Social Media

Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be a great tool to stay in touch with family and friends. However, with so much content online and so many life events to share, it is easy to forget that unwanted eyes may be watching.

Social networking sites have become a haven for adversaries, identity thieves and con artists trying to use people's information against them. Without realizing it, Airmen and their families may unknowingly jeopardize the safety of themselves, their family, their friends or fellow military members.

One acute danger to Airmen and their families posting to social networks involves smart phones automatically geo-tagging pictures with data that can reveal exact locations.

Here are a few social media tips to remember:

· Avoid giving away your location by disabling the GPS function on your smartphone
· Ensure your social media privacy settings are set to only allow people you know
· Don't "check in" at locations
· Don't post where you will be or where you're going on specific dates or times
· Don't post phone numbers, addresses or e-mails on social media
· Don't post on social media about when and where you are going on vacation, TDY, or on deployments

The U.S. Air Force has also supplied a guide on how to correctly and safely navigate social media as a military member, which can also be used to educate your loved ones. For a copy, click here.

Personal security

Following the same patterns and routines can make you a target. Change up your routine, be aware of your surroundings, and most importantly, report the unusual! If you see anything unusual report it by calling your local Air Force Office of Special Investigations or local law enforcement officials.

We all have a role in ensuring personal safety and security. Stay aware, stay informed and stay vigilant.

Some information for this commentary was taken an article by Airman 1st Class Peter Reft titled "Social media: Unwanted eyes may be watching Airmen, families," and "OPSEC demands much, protects much," by Senior Airman Jason Wiese, 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs.