The hidden danger of Facebook and on-line social networks

John was involved in a motor vehicle collision and made a claim for his injuries.  John said that he was disabled and could not work for several weeks. He also testified that many of his activities were limited as the result of his injuries. The insurance company’s investigator reviewed John’s Facebook page where John posted photographs of himself playing basketball and water-skiing. He even bragged about his extended “vacation” from work. The insurance company refused to settle his case. John’s employer also saw the Facebook page and, as a result, fired John from his job.

Be aware of anything that you post on-line as it is discoverable and could come back to hurt you. A recent study by Harris Interactive found that 45% of employers they questioned are using on-line social networks to check out job candidates and employees. Lawyers, employers, and private investigators routinely investigate on-line information. Some courts may even allow the discovery of information that a person has posted on-line, yet considers confidential and supposedly protected by certain privacy settings.

Furthermore, social networking is an identity thief’s dream since millions of people share all types of personal information on-line. According to PC World, more than 33% of social network users have posted at least three items of personal information that could lead to identity theft. The bottom line is that you should use good common sense when you post provocative messages, photos or personal information.  Call 911 and report to the police that you were injured. Otherwise, the police will not be dispatched to the scene.

If you are in a collision, be sure to move your vehicle to a safe location if possible, and turn on your hazard lights. Obtain the license plate number of the other vehicle, its make, model and color. Copy the name, address and date of birth from the other driver’s license. Use your cell phone to photograph the other vehicle. Exchange insurance information. Identify any witnesses. While at the scene, call the 911 emergency operator who will give you further instructions and advise you if the officer will come to the scene. If the officer does not come to the scene, the 911 operator will tell you how to report the accident at the police precinct, either in person or by telephone.