A fab Facebook status update from a golden beach, an innocent Instagram image of you with your feet up to a Twitter from on top of a mountain, careless social media posts could be a massive advert to criminals.
Homeowners and occupiers could be at risk of break-ins, burglary and other crime if they are not careful about what, when and how they post and boast on social media whilst away on holiday.
Ask anyone who has been burgled and you will hear its the emotional rather than the financial impact that lingers the most.
Insurance will cover the financial loss but knowing someone has been in your home, through your possessions and stolen items can leave you traumatised for some time.
The Police have been warning homeowners and occupiers for years to make their home look occupied while they are away on holiday or on extended breaks to reduce the risk of acquisitive crimes such as burglary.
Advice has included leaving lights on timers, having your post picked up by neighbours and fitting alarms, cameras and the like to deter would be burglars while away on holiday.
It’s Advertising You Are Away
But all that could be a waste of time if careless posting on social media is picked up by those with a criminal intent to find unoccupied property; maybe your property.
Facebook for example will tag your posts with the location of the image or post if you let it.
So careless posting on social media is a big advert!
Protection Could Be Compromised
Insurance companies are also becoming interested in this subject too as links between social media and break-in start to be debated.
In the U.S. insurers now regularly check a claimants social media use before making pay outs.
What happens in the U.S. doesn’t take long to make it across the pond so it could be an area that sneaks into the small print of UK policies at some time in the future so watch out.
What can you do to protect yourself?
To view and adjust your privacy settings on Facebook
Click in the upper-right corner of any Facebook page.
Select Settings from the dropdown menu.
Select Privacy on the left.
Click a setting (ex: Who can see your future posts?) to edit it.
To view and adjust your privacy settings on Twitter:
Go to your Security and privacy settings.
Scroll down to the Tweet privacy section and check the box next to Protect my Tweets.
Click the blue Save button at the bottom of the page. You will be prompted to enter your password to confirm the change.
Check what information you’ve listed on your Facebook profile
Click your name to view your profile
Review what information you have listed.
Remove any personal information, like your phone number, address and date of birth
Check who can see your old Facebook posts
Click the arrow at the top right of any Facebook page and choose Settings
Select Privacy from the left menu
Under the Who can see my stuff? section, click Limit the audience for posts I’ve shared with friends of friends or Public?
Click Limit Old Posts
Spread the Word
So help protect your friends and family from advertising they are away on social media and help give them piece of mind by sharing our article How Posting and Boasting on Social Media Could Cost You Dearly.