How Burglars are Using Social Media to Rob Your Home
With social media being a prominent staple in people’s lives, burglars now have easy access to homeowners’ specific information. With social users using platforms like, Twitter, Facebook, and FourSquare that have tracking capabilities – you may be leading a burglar right through your front door.
A technique that is widely used by home invaders is, Google Street-view. This tool allows robbers to “scope” your house without even having to drive to it. They can find information like – where doors are located, the distance between you and your neighbors, what the best escape route will be, etc. And, they can do all of this research without the risk of being caught on site.
So you may be wondering, “How are they doing it?” The answer to that is -- homeowners are giving up key information for robbers via social media.
Without even realizing it, many users will post something along the lines of, “Cabo for the week! See you guys on Sunday.” And once you are there, you are easily posting pictures of your island-themed drink, while sitting on the beach, with the ocean, and rays of sunshine (we can feel the warmth now). Even though this may seem innocent, it is just confirming to potential invaders that your home is vacant and it’s the perfect time to make their move.
You may also be attracting thieves, without even posting anything! Crazy, right? With a couple clicks in the advance search section on Facebook or Twitter, anyone (good or bad guys) can target specific groups of people who are likely to be out of the country. For example, if you are sitting in an airport and you check into FourSquare, these searches can be saved and checked periodically for new targets.
Going along with FourSquare, many other social platforms have taken on the feature of “location data.” This is increasingly becoming more popular and it shows where the user has posted from, by tagging where a post was made with co-ordinates or the exact name of a restaurant you may be at. In layman’s terms – if burglars know where you live, where you are now, and how long they can take in your home – you could become easy prey.
Studies have shown that thieves will attempt to get in and out of your home within a 10 minute period, but if they know you are in a faraway state on vacation, they know they can take their time – resulting in your nicest possessions being stolen.
Now that you know all of this information, your next questions may be, “What can I do to prevent this from happening to me?”
- Turn off any location settings that your phone automatically sets.
- Do not share any personal address information.
- Change all of your settings on Facebook so you can’t be searched by your private information. Also consider turning off shared information with “friends of friends.” This will eliminate anyone who you are not friends with from seeing your posts.
- Lastly, even though we know it’s hard not to brag with pictures of the bright blue ocean, try and hold off with the pictures until after you are back. To see how protected you are, run a reverse search on yourself – you will be surprised how much personal information you put out to the world without even knowing it. Technology is a great thing but it can also be very scary if put into the wrong hands.
To see how protected you are, run a reverse search on yourself – you will be surprised how much personal information you put out to the world without even knowing it. Technology is a great thing but it can also be very scary if put into the wrong hands.
To learn more about social media and protecting homeowners, contact a financial advisor and reach out to our vLoan team today. If you are not a homeowner but soon wish to be, get a free online rate quote with our multi-step calculator.