Is Nextdoor Safe? 10 Ways to Stay Secure

Tips to protect you and your privacy

You may have heard about Nextdoor—a popular social network designed for neighbors to connect and communicate with each other in local neighborhoods.

While Nextdoor takes the safety and privacy of its users seriously by incorporating a range of security features, guidelines and policies into the platform, it still isn't completely unsusceptible to scams, fraud or harassment.

To stay as safe and secure as possible while using Nextdoor, make sure to consider the following tips if you're thinking of joining or are already an existing user.

01
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Read Nextdoor's Privacy Policy

Someone reading the Nextdoor privacy notice on a computer.

Pexels 

It's important to be aware of how Nextdoor collects your data. Nextdoor explains what data it collects from you and how it's used in Nextdoor's privacy policy. If you don't like how your data is being collected and used, you shouldn't be on the platform.

Consider the fact that Nextdoor collects information from your browser and device. This means that if you use Nextdoor on multiple platforms (your computer, your phone, your tablet), then it collects data from all those places. And if you sign up for Nextdoor through your Facebook account, it can access data from there too.

02
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Hide Your Street Number

The entrance to a home with a street number on the door.

 @chara_stagram_ via Twenty20

The most important privacy feature you have control over is the ability to hide your street number from everyone in your neighborhood. Neighbors will still be able to see your street name, but they won't know your full address, so you may help protect yourself from becoming a target of bullying (online or offline).

To do this, 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.

03
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Post With Caution

Teen girls taking pictures for social media.

 @TonyTheTigersSon via Twenty20

Although your profile and post visibility is limited to only the members of your neighborhood, it's important to think before you post. You don't want to spam your neighbors, draw negative attention to yourself or create unnecessary conflict.

Any neighborhood can have as few as 100 households and as many as 3,000. That's a very large number, and even though they're local, most are probably still strangers to you.

Nextdoor doesn't currently have a feature that allows you to post to a custom list of select neighbors like Facebook does. When you post, you post to everyone in your neighborhood, so keep this in mind—and maybe think about using private messages for more personal conversations instead.

Nextdoor also has a Nearby Neighborhoods feature that allows surrounding neighborhoods to selectively share posts with each other. If you post something to Nearby Neighborhoods, there's no way to do so completely anonymously. Your name, neighborhood, and photo will be shared, however members of Nearby Neighborhoods won't be able to see your full address or contact information.

04
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Do Your Research on Recommendations

A contractor helping with home improvements.

@Wandeaw via Twenty20 

Neighbors can recommend businesses for their products and services, but this doesn't guarantee that they'll do a good job—or that they're even legitimate. There have been reports of Nextdoor users hiring contractors for home repairs, only to be left with an incomplete or botched project after having paid thousands of dollars.

In addition to researching businesses appropriately (reading online reviews, asking for references, verifying qualifications and certifications, etc.) about their products/services, consider privately messaging neighbors you know who've done business with them and ask about their experience.

05
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Meet Neighbors in Person for Payments

Neighbors gathering at a neighborhood party.

@alexandercatedral via Twenty20 

If you plan to hire or pay a neighbor for something, avoid doing so online—especially if you haven't met them in person. The same rule should apply for accepting payment from a neighbor.

Scammers are well known to use third-party payment platforms to obtain personal information and payments from all sorts of unsuspecting victims. If a neighbor refuses to meet up in person and accept or offer payment in cash, then there's a chance that they're trying to scam you.

06
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Never Share Personal Information

A man using a smartphone.

@nina_p_v via Twenty20 

Providing personal information of any kind to any neighbor via Nextdoor puts you at risk of having your accounts compromised, losing money or losing items of value.

Avoid giving anyone your Nextdoor login details, email address, phone number, PayPal email, credit card details, bank account, social security number or any other personal information through Nextdoor.

07
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Watch Out for Shady Messages

Young woman shocked at phone message.

 @justingovender_ via Twenty20

Sometimes you can spot a scammer just by looking for some well known signs. Beware of any of the following if you receive a private message from a neighbor:

  • Typos, misspelled words and bad grammar;
  • Multiple fonts and awkward accent placements;
  • Messages concerning your Nextdoor password; and
  • Mismatched links (the link text doesn't match the link that appears at the bottom of your browser when you hover your cursor over it).

Find out more about what phishing scams are and how to protect yourself.

08
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Report Inappropriate Content and Users

Someone reporting a post on Nextdoor.

Stocksnap 

Anyone on Nextdoor can report content they think violates the community guidelines. Posts, comments and user profiles can be reported so Nextdoor staff can review their activity and take appropriate action.

To report a post or comment, select the top right of the poster/commenter's name and select Report post or Report comment. To report a neighbor, access your Neighbors page or tab from the main menu, select the neighbor you want to report and then select the down arrow (web) or three dots (mobile app) followed by Report.

You can't block other users on Nextdoor like you can on other popular social networks. (You can, however, mute them to stop seeing their posts.) This could pose a problem if a user you want to restrict from reaching you continues to send you private messages. Without a blocking feature, you can't do anything except report them and ignore their messages.

09
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Message Neighborhood Leads About Spam or Suspicious Activity

A woman watching someone in her neighborhood.

@tami.s.kelly via Twenty20 

Nextdoor leads are regular neighbors in your neighborhood who have special capabilities to assist with monitoring and moderating neighborhood activity. If you see something suspicious, message them directly about it.

Unfortunately, Nextdoor leads can't limit any user's posting or remove them from the neighborhood altogether, but they can at least vote to remove posts that they think have violated Nextdoor's guidelines.

10
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Check Out Nextdoor's Help Resources for Known Scams

A neighborhood in San Francisco.

@AhmeN via Twenty20 

Nextdoor keeps its users informed about known scams that the platform is currently dealing with by updating its Crime & safety section in Nextdoor's Help resources.

At this time of writing, there's a known scam regarding bargain items for gift cards in which advertisements are posted for luxury items that are listed at a "too good to be true" low price.