Social media sites like Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter have become such a regular part of life for many of us. We don’t think twice about making posts or telling others what we’re up to. Unfortunately, this puts both our home and personal safety at potential risk – risk that can be easily avoided.
While we may believe only family and friends care about what we post online, the reality is criminals see these posts as an opportunity. It isn’t difficult to find out what you’re up to and what treasures may hide inside your home.
Applications that allow for location check-ins are particularly troublesome in that they are blatant announcements that you aren’t home. Check-ins at an ice cream shop right around the corner may not be terribly dangerous, but one while you’re on vacation could tip off burglars that you are nowhere near home and shouldn’t be expected back anytime soon.
Using just your name and the knowledge that you are out of town, potential thieves can locate your address using Internet listings and online directories.
What’s the best and most effective way of protecting yourself from a “click-and-mortar” burglary? Simply refrain from posting anything online.
Alas, that’s easier said than done, especially with social media quickly becoming our preferred method of communication. Fortunately, you don’t need to do anything as radical as completely taking yourself off the grid
– you merely need to be smart about what you post. Below are some social media safety tips, some of which are also covered in our 60-Seconds for Safety video.
1. Wait until after to post pictures of your vacation. Rather than alerting burglars that you are clearly gone and that you’ll be gone for a while, just hold off on sharing those Kodak moments for a little while. Family and friends will still be excited to see them when you are safely home.
2. Avoid check-in posts. Along the same lines, try not to give robbers an open-house invitation.
3. Turn off the GPS function on your phone when not in use. In addition to protecting yourself from accidental references to your location, this will save the battery life of your phone. Win-win.
4. Check your social media security settings. Social networking sites tend to change their privacy settings every so often, and much of the time these changes come unannounced. It’s good practice to check your settings every couple of weeks to make sure you aren’t sharing your information with unwelcome eyes.
5. Refrain from posting about expensive new toys. You don’t want unsavory types knowing what kinds of pricey items they can find inside your home. That new 60in LED TV doesn’t necessarily have to be announced to the world via Facebook, surprise friends and family when they come by to watch the game.
Social networking is now part of how most people live, and while it may seem lighthearted, we are still liable for all of the information that we put on the web. If you still insist on checking in from your vacation spot, make sure you have a monitored home security system from Crime Prevention Security Systems. We’ll keep an eye on your house while you’re gone.