Beware of Social Media!
We all spend way too much time browsing social media. It is easy to get lost looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and every other platform that has become a way of life. Although most of the time spent on social media is harmless, sometimes what seems harmless often can be problematic.
Recently, an article was published on a local news site about a Bucks County man who is facing federal charges in connection with the Capitol riots in January. The FBI was tipped off when it was sent screenshots of a post his wife made on Facebook detailing her husband’s account of the incident – which he attended. Another recent article was published about a New York man who is being charged with disability fraud. Why? Because pictures emerged on his wife’s Instagram account of this “disabled” man running a business and pumping iron.
After all, social media posts are designed to be public, but they can also be problematic, as these men discovered. The same applies for the average person who may believe that their posts don’t matter. They do.
At the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, we represent injured workers in workers’ compensation claims, disabled persons who are seeking Social Security benefits, and persons injured in slips and falls and motor vehicle accidents. In all of those types of cases, we advise our clients to be very careful about what they post to social media.
Posts about your activities or your whereabouts could potentially impact your case. Claiming you are injured and need to receive workers’ compensation benefits while posting photos of you hiking in the mountains, for example, can make your claims seem more than a little bit unbelievable. Even if your account is “private,” you never know who is looking or may decide to forward on information. I am sure the wife of the Bucks County man wasn’t thinking any of her “friends” would pass on information to the FBI! The post had been later deleted from public view, but the screenshots already existed. And the New York man’s wife used her Instagram account very publicly to serve her own business.
It is now very common in litigation and other proceedings to be asked about social media accounts. And even if the question never comes, often, the lawyers are looking. Make sure you are careful about what you post, and never discuss your case! And make sure you control who can “tag” you in their posts. When in doubt, don’t post. If you do, and aren’t careful, it may cost you.