Are you going out of town this holiday season? So many people across the country are preparing their suitcases and overnight bags for a relaxing weekend visiting family. As technology has changed, we end up sharing information differently with our friends and loved ones. Specifically, social media has had a major integration with our daily lives. It’s an easy way to share plans and thoughts with a large group of people all at once. Unfortunately, this seemingly harmless plan-sharing platform can have a dark side. The last thing you could ever want upon finishing a fun family vacation over the holidays is to come home to your house in ruins with all your expensive electronics and personal belongings stolen or violated. According to a study:

” 15% of American publicize their travel plans on social media “

Burglars looking for easy targets will sometimes peruse social media outlets in order to see who’s staying in this season… and who’s leaving their homes empty and vulnerable. For this reason it is important to arm your home security system every time you leave the house. Maybe you’ve heard about burglars keeping tabs on social media and think it’s just a paranoid tall-tale. It actually happens, so beware of the over-share! It’s highly likely for a burglar to use social medias for selecting a potential target. In this post, we’ll explain how burglars go about targeting you on social media and what you can to to prevent this from happening to you!

Why Social Media?

In the past, burglars have made use of obituaries in order to take advantage of grieving families attending funerals. Now, there is a new trend: targeting people who post travel plans on social media. We’ve all seen the posting on Facebook: A friend at the airport, family visiting, location accuracy and checking-in to places around town. She posts a selfie and one of her kids, all bundled up for a winter vacation, bags packed and ready to go. Unfortunately, more people might reach this information that you might intend. Burglars turn to Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare. With the rise of social media, burglars now have access to specific information regarding homeowners than ever before. With technology such as Google Street View, tech-savvy thieves can case out likely-looking homes in complete safety.

How Do Burglars Use Social Media?

Social media can tell burglars important information that makes their “job” much easier. A few advanced searches on Facebook and Twitter can be tailored to target groups of people who are likely to be out of the country. For example, those checking into airport lounges on foursquare. These searches can be saved and checked periodically for new targets. Just a post or two can tell someone:

  1. What you have – what kind of device you’re using, whether it’s mobile or not
  2. Where you live – with current location, check-ins, and approximate placement accuracy
  3. How long you’re likely to be away from home

Locating Where You Are

Facebook has an “open graph” search. This search will allow unprecedented levels of targeting for potential burglars, especially for users with public or open profiles. Social media platforms are increasingly showing where the user has posted from by tagging where a post was made with coordinates. If they know where you live, and they know where you are, they know when you’re house is empty and likely to be welcoming a burglar.

What Can You Do About It?

Here are some tips to consider when posting on social media:

  1. Consider taking a break from social media when you’re on vacation. You can always upload photos after the trip
  2. Avoid announcing that you’re going to be in another country/state/city for the next few week (we know it’s tempting)
  3. Post photos after the trip, not during.
  4. Avoid automatically sharing location information
  5. Don’t ever share your address
  6. Consider sharing information with friends and not with the public or “friends of friends”
  7. Evaluate the information you share on your social media accounts, especially your profile data
  8. If you put yourself in a burglars shoes, would you be able to stalk yourself? 

Even after implementing these preventative measures, you can never be sure of how secure your home is without a home security system. Consider defending your property with a home security system from Protect America. Protect America provides free equipment, DIY installation, and a lifetime warranty on all products with purchase of monthly monitoring. We are driven to provide only the highest quality products and dedicated service at an affordable price. Defend your home and your wallet with Protect America.