Nothing is sweeter than heading out on vacation and sending those beautiful Caribbean sunset pictures to family back at home over social media…However, it turns out vacationers and family back at home aren’t the only ones taken advantage of social media communication. Burglars are also getting in on the social media “goods.” In fact, a study done by the firm “Credit Sesame” found that 80 percent of the burglars that they interviewed used social media to dub their next target (50 burglars involved in the study). Media Bistro also reported a similar finding that stated more than 75% of burglars use social media before break-ins, meaning burglars are looking for the easy targets. Posting pictures, statuses, and check-ins on Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter, and other social sites reveal where you are, how long you’ll be gone, and when you’ll be home. All of these facts are important for saavy burglars to find the “jackpots” of easy targets. So stop to think before you send that tweet! Here are a few things to consider:
The average 45 minute-1 hour dining time is plenty of time for a burglar to conduct his work. When you check-in to a restaurant, a burglar knows approximately when you’re coming home and they act accordingly! So while those free appetizer incentives are great, consider your other options before it’s too late. Note: Be careful when you check into restaurants, theatres, events, etc.
From the number of downloads of the “Countdown” apps now days, there is no hiding the fact that most people are into countdowns before big trips—and most the time, people make it public. The problem is that your countdown might be just as important to you as it is to someone else (a burglar). Countdowns reveal when you’re going and sometimes how long you’ll be gone. If you’re gone for an extended time, burglars can even plan out multiple trips to your home. Note: Keep your countdowns private!
Be aware that posting about your adventures in a city 45 minutes away is a clear giveaway for burglars. Burglars can estimate how long it takes for you to get from the city to home in order to plan their break-in. Note: Maybe tweet that or message when you’re home for the night!
The popularity of Instagram is taking off like wild fire. The ability to share images in real-time from anywhere in the world is outstanding. However, hashtags, geo-locations, and wording can be dangerous. Even if you only allow close friends, family, and neighbors to follow your feed, you still need to be aware of Instagram dangers. Be careful not to tweet things like #latenight #longdrivehome or anything else that can be more revealing than your pictures. Note: Be careful with hashtags and maybe even post your pictures after your home! You still are sharing your wonderful experience with friends—even if it’s not real-time.
Check out this infographic below from mediabistro.com (Allison Stadd):