Did you ever think that your social media activity could jeopardize your home’s safety? The answer might be “yes” according to a recent study. Expert criminals revealed using social media updates to determine when to rob a home. Keep that in mind the next time you think about Tweeting your whereabouts or vacation plans, because someone might be waiting for that next “status update.”
Let’s face it, we are all guilty of wanting everyone to know where we are going, or what our current location is. I mean, if I was at the running of the bulls in Spain, I’d want to tell all my friends and Twitpic like crazy! However, if a burglar saw this, he would know that I was out of the country and everything in my home is up for grabs. That’s a scary thought, and unfortunately more and more burglars are using this method to target their next victims.
Let's take a look at some facts:
- An estimated 78% of burglars use Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to target potential properties, according to a study conducted by UK home security experts Freidland
- 15% of Americans use social media to report that they left the house, according to a poll conducted by MetLife
- 35% of Americans age 18-34 check in or tweet about their location, according to Metlife
I can bet you, if you were to look on your Facebook or Twitter feed, that you could find a post from one of your “friends” or “followers” stating “Looking forward to the family vacation next week to Disney World!” Although the post seems harmless, it does raise some concern. This is as good as putting a sign on the main road that screams “empty house” for passers-by to see. Even if you have a home security system, you still don’t want to create that attraction for burglars.
So what can you do to improve your home’s “social” security?
- Set your Facebook privacy settings to allow only your friends to see your content
- Only add actual friends into your network, if you need to have a wider net, create a “close friends” group and restrict any status updates you think might be risky to just close friends
- Refrain from announcing that you will be out of town for an extended period of time
- Don’t post photos that reveal your address or landmarks near your home
- Avoid posting photos of expensive items in your home
The Mindblowing & Free Tool Burglars Love
Do you remember the days when a burglar had to actually go to a home, and physically scope it out? Can you imagine a tool where you could actually get the basic layout of a home without even stepping foot into it? Would you guess that burglars would love a tool like this?
Well fasten your seatbelts, that tool was created back in 2007. You may know it as Google Street View. Burglars can use Google Street View to scope out potential homes before they strike. Think about it, a burglar can see if you have high privacy fencing, tall hedges, shrubbery surrounding windows, or any nearby neighbors. They can also use Google Satellite View to map out the footprint of your home, plan entry and escape routes. Google has done most of the dirty work.
Here’s what you can’t do: Protect your home from Google’s satellites and cameras.
Here’s what you CAN do: Ensure you have a good burglar alarm in place.
I’m not saying that using social media will definitely lead to a burglary, but it certainly increases your risk. With more and more people using social media these days, the odds of criminals using this as an outlet for their criminal activity are exceptionally high. Burglars are always looking for the next easy score, and when you post “Won’t be getting home on time due to all this work,” you’re giving them the heads up that your home is empty and ready for the picking.
Don’t make it easy for the burglar, or else you’ll be tweeting from the public library because he stole the laptop you Instagrammed pictures of last week.