How Holiday Snaps on Social Media Put Your Home at Risk
There’s no doubt that social media is addictive, and even when we’re on the holiday of a lifetime, it’s so tempting to spend time posting your snaps or showing off the amazing locations that you have visited. Unfortunately, if you don’t take precautions, these innocent social media posts can be a way for potential burglars to know your location and target your home. There have been many cases recently where homes have been burgled due to holiday-related posts on Facebook, and some insurers may not pay out if you’ve not taken adequate security measures, for example, make sure you call a local locksmith and have your home secured with high-quality door and window locks, which will keep your home safe whilst on Vacation. Also, here are some ways to ensure your social media posts don’t lead to your home being targeted.
Check your privacy settings
Before you post any personal information, check your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social networks that you use. While you may think your profile is private, you may have settings that allow friends of friends to see your statuses, for example, if one of your mutual friends is tagged. This could potentially show your post to thousands of local people, so check your privacy settings and make sure to only add people who you know in real life to avoid sharing with unnecessary people.
Don’t forget that some social networks are linked, so if you post on one it may post to the others. For example, you might put a photo on your private Facebook, it may show up on your Instagram which is public. Therefore, you should check all social media that you use.
Don’t post specific holiday details
Try to avoid being too specific about holidays you plan to take. Some people post that they’ve booked a holiday for a certain date, and even specify the number of nights, giving potential burglars a window of time to break into their homes. While it’s great to be excited about a trip, make sure you don’t overshare.
Turn off location settings
It’s a bad idea to tag yourself at the airport or at a foreign landmark, and most people know not to do this, but they may not realise that some social networks automatically include a location tag. Even if you’re not posting about being on holiday, the tag will show where you are in the world, and gives away the fact that your home is empty. Turn off location settings in your phone’s main settings while you’re away, and avoid using any check-in features. If your profile isn’t private, then anyone who wants to keep track of where you are will find it easy.
Remove personal information where possible
There are lots of ways that burglars can use personal information from your social media:
- Address – It’s easy to look up your address online, especially if it’s a small town or you have a unique name. Change your hometown to the nearest big city
- Date of birth – Putting your date of birth on a social media profile makes identity theft easier, and can even help when they’re trying to break into a safe or guessing your PIN
- Photos of your house – Posting photos of your house makes burglaries easier to plan, as they can work out the layout of your home. If they can see valuables in the background, then it makes things even more tempting
- Boasting about purchases – If you’ve excitedly posted about buying a designer bag or new laptop, then this can be an inventive for burglars to break in while you’re away
It might surprise you to hear that one in six social media users have completely open profiles, often with a wealth of information online that potential burglars could use to plan a break in. There’s so much personal information available at a burglar’s fingertips, that even some basic details can give a lot away.
Only post photos once you’re back
There’s no reason why you can’t share your gorgeous holiday snaps, but wait until you get back home. Even if you aren’t specific about your location or duration of your trips, photos taken on an exotic beach or in your hotel room will make it obvious you’re away. Once you get home, you can make an album for all your photos and share them all in one go.
While social media can be a great tool to communicate with friends, it’s important to understand that the things that are posted can be used by thieves. Therefore, if you’re going to be away for a weekend or longer holiday, it’s important not to post about what you’re doing. Save the photos for when you get back, and spend some time away from social media during your break.