We’ve all done it. The smug family selfie or you and your spouse or pals on holiday somewhere sunny with appropriate taglines specifying exactly in which country you’re currently having the time of your life. (Despite the non-stop arguments and the travel sickness that have gone on off camera.) But did you stop to think that this innocent snap shared on social media might spell disaster for you and your home?
So many of us seem to want to scream from the rooftops about what a great time we are having by tagging ourselves at the latest hippest cocktail bar or restaurant in Glasgow or Edinburgh or wherever you happen to be. Then there’s the obligatory ‘checking in’ to the airport and photo of your pint/prosecco for breakfast before getting on the plane to #portugalherewecome. Have you ever stopped to think that all this shouting about being away from home might get you in trouble? If your friends can see where you checked in, and maybe friends of these friends, then so might a burglar.
And what’s more, all this sharing could actually invalidate your home insurance cover. If you’ve shared your location and the dates your away this equates to not taking ‘reasonable care’ of securing your home and its possessions. So if you were unlucky enough to be burgled during this time, you may not be covered.
Thieves are as tech-savvy as the rest of us. There are a myriad of ways you could be monitored across social media. If your privacy settings are not updated to restrict viewing by strangers or if your friend does not log out of their shared computer at Uni for example, or you’ve not had a friend cull lately then you are a potential target for criminals. Social media is a window into your life. It documents your recent purchases, where you’re going and when. Recently, Google Street View has come under fire for providing thieves with clear views of properties, thereby showing thieves the best way to enter a house. Why not have a look at your house on Street View. Can you see the best way to break in? Is the house next to yours empty or for sale? If you can see an opportunity, then so can a criminal.
Here are our top tips for sharing on Social Media:
- Try not to post from your holiday destination unless to a secure group of friends. It’s just an advert that your house is unoccupied
- Turn off location-sharing features, update your privacy settings and don’t share with people who aren’t in your group of friends
- Social Media sites change their privacy settings regularly, so you must regularly check to make sure your security settings and friend list are up-to-date.
- If you really want to post your pics, add them to an album and share that only with your close friends and relatives – or post when you’re back home
So in short, share your personal experiences only with your very close friends and try to share less. Being burgled is a horrible experience and you’d be a fool to encourage criminals when you have the power to make it more difficult for them to access your information.
Although DO SHARE this article far and wide. Let’s reduce the chance of this happening to your friends and family!