With well over 1 billion reported users, Facebook continues to grab headlines – some of them regarding privacy issues.
In fact Facebook also figures largely in news articles about what not to share on social media, unless you want to come home to a ransacked house and missing cash, jewelry, and electronics.
That’s because the bad guys are also cyber-savvy, and when we broadcast our plans to our friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends, bad things can happen. This recent article on summer travel safety contains some great advice.
Heading out of town on vacation this summer? Then you're going to have to repeat these words after us: Don't. Post. On. Facebook.
I like that recommendation. After all, we know from plenty of documented examples that thieves do use Facebook to target homes of people who post their travel plans. Here’s more:
Identifying the Risk
While it's incredibly tempting to make everyone you know via social networks swoon with jealousy about your upcoming trip to Europe, it can also put your home at a serious security risk -- and you'd only have yourself to blame.
A recent study of ex-criminals found that 80 per cent of that group believed thieves were using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare to figure out when people would be away from their homes. After all, once posted, the information is easily found online, and tells those looking to get at your valuables how far away you are -- and when you'll be back.
Keep it Private
Don't update any statuses or "tweet" the dates that you are going away. Also, be sure to utilize the privacy settings on social media sites correctly to ensure that strangers are not seeing things you didn't intend for them to see.
Be careful when using the "check-in" feature on Facebook, and be leery of apps like Foursquare and Instagram that share your location with others. The new generation of apps broadcasts your location at all times to friends -- and in many cases to people you don't even know. And unlike the previous types which required you to check in to a venue, these apps are persistent unless you pause them or turn them off.
Keep It to Yourself
Don't write about how frustrated you are because your front door doesn't shut properly, or about how you're getting new windows installed over the weekend.
Watch Those Pics
Don't post photos of the new 52" TV in your living room or the vintage Harley Davidson in your garage.
Keep an Eye on the Kids
Be careful to monitor what your children are posting i.e.: "Parents gone all weekend! House to myself!"
Like any good alarm company, FrontPoint cares a lot about your physical safety and your virtual security – it all adds up to peace of mind.
After all, protecting homes and families should be our highest priority. We’ll keep on sharing great tips when we find them: it’s our goal to be your resource for crime statistics, burglar behaviors, and the latest technologies to thwart intruders. Have a great – and safe – summer!