With the changing digital transformation, social media has gathered a lot of traction in recent years. Social media platforms allow you to connect with people and share life events and memories with your social circles. From holiday check-ins on Facebook to a brand new car post on Instagram, we see people sharing their personal information online.
Professional burglars are smart and are using social media as a potential tool to find soft targets. Nowadays, with the help of social media, burglars can track people online. Most of us are naive and do not think before putting anything in public. Information like this could benefit the burglars who find their potential targets on such platforms and pose a threat to us.
According to Swinton insurance survey, 88% of the Twitter profiles are public. In fact, 66% of Twitter users have their location in their bios. It is a huge number of people who can be tracked via their social profiles. Burglars can easily monitor locations of these people from their Twitter profiles that are apparently public.
The most common types of posts that catch burglars’ attention are:
- Weekend outings posts or check-ins
- Lunch or dinner date posts
- Day trips videos or pictures
- Long vacations stories
- New home or new car posts
The Swindon insurance study supports this fact:
- Around 568,703 people posted about their vacations.
- 3,941 people flaunted their new car.
- 15,508 people shared their new home photos on Instagram.
Never posts crucial information online that will make you or your home vulnerable. It’s always good to take precautions and be vigilant while you post critical information that might benefit burglars.
How do Burglars use social media as a tool?
The information critical to burglars is now readily available and accessible through our social media profiles. People are posting their vacations pictures, putting check-ins. On top of it, the geo-tagging feature lets your location visible to everyone.
Isn’t it sending an open invitation to the burglars finding their targets over social media?
Technology has brought in a lot of ease and comfort into everyone’s life, including burglars too. Burglars use social media to get all the information they would need to find targets.
Some common tactics that burglars follow on social media.
- Use of Facebook, Instagram or Twitter to track people who are travelling. All of these information can be tracked through our online check-ins and posts.
- GPS enabled features known as geo-tagging give a real-time location to the burglars. Many social media apps use this feature when you upload your photos or videos online. In fact, your smartphone camera tags all your digital images and stores them as metadata that a software can read.
- Google street view helps burglars to get a view of the location and its surroundings. It helps them to plan out their entry and exit based on their target location.
Let’s say you’re on your way to Europe for a holiday. You put airport check-ins, photos and videos about your vacations.
Now if a burglar who finds your profile online will have solid information about you especially if your Instagram account is open.
They can easily plan out and execute the burglary because they have got all the critical information about you through your social profile.
Usually, an average burglary takes about 10 minutes. But in such a scenario, the burglar is going to spend more time as the house is empty.
On top of it if you have put up a post about your new car then the burglar would surely know what he has to look for in your house- YOUR CAR KEYS.
Social Media Burglary can impact your Insurance Policy
Insurance companies have started rejecting insurance claims of people where social media posts have triggered burglaries.
The Financial Ombudsman and local police have constantly asked people not to post on social media especially when they are on a vacation. It leads to possible burglaries at your home while you are still enjoying your vacations.
Insurers have now incorporated policies that require customers to take “reasonable care” to keep their property secure. Posting pictures about trips or new purchases will be considered a breach of this policy. There were cases in the past where people were burgled after they have put pictures online while they were still on vacations.
According to Admiral insurers’ research, one in 20 homeowners reported an insurance claim against a burglary that happened while they were was on holidays. Another survey by interiors firm Hillary found that one in 12 Britons had been burgled after posting their location on social media.
Insurance companies emphasise protecting the property against any accidents, damages and burglaries. They also prohibit and restrict sharing pictures only with your friends and families.
How to protect yourself from social media burglary?
- Don’t put your images on social media while you’re still travelling. Wait till you get back. These days your private life is no longer personal, thanks to social media. Anyone can browse through your profile to get details about you such as your work place, upcoming events to attend, travel and day out plans. Watch out before you post any such details online. Always share your personal information discreetly.
- Be wary of strangers that approach you online and never accept requests from these people. You might have a common connection, however always check with your mutual friends before you connect with them. You never know that the person might turn out to be a fraud. Have a thorough check before you let people connect to you on social media.
- If you receive a friend’s request from one of your friends who is already connected to you, please check it before adding them. There is a good chance that this is a fake profile created with malicious intentions.
- Manage your social media profiles smartly and limit to just friends and families. Use your privacy settings to lock your profile. This way, you know that you’re around safe people whom you know personally.
- Never share pictures of your recent purchases especially if they are expensive. Nowadays, it’s quite common for people to brag about their new car or give a tour of their new home. But have you ever thought that this might give clues to the burglars and make their work easier?
- People nowadays can be seen posting about their daily routine online and sharing their upcoming trip or an event. This gives the burglars with an excellent opportunity to identify their targets online. Please try to keep your life discreet and share your data consciously.
Social media has undoubtedly made socialising easier. But at the same time, it has made easier for burglars to identify potential targets. Too much data sharing can attract a lot of attention and cause trouble. Always take the necessary precautions before sharing anything online.
To stay one step ahead of the burglars, you can always get a security system that fits your needs. A security system would ensure that your home is secure and prevent burglars from attempting to break into your premises.
FHA is a multi-award winning security installer based in England that helps people secure their homes with their comprehensive security systems. We offer free security consultation, carry out a free survey, and provide customised security quotes for enhanced security.