According to a report released by Facebook, there are approximately 1.35 billion active global users, equating to half of the total internet users across the world using the social media site. Despite the positives of social media, it has been proven to leave user’s personal information vulnerable to burglars. To combat an easy break-in, we take a look at the risks of social media and the steps you can take to avoid falling victim.
A report from Friedland found that 78% of burglars stated that social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare were used to target properties. 54%
also said that placing a status of whereabouts on social networking sites was a common mistake made by homeowners.
The dangers of advertising when you’re away were shown recently when celebrity Jodie Marsh was struck by burglars after putting holiday photos on her social media channels.
For most, January means that home owners are back to work, meaning houses are empty during the day and are brimming with new presents and gadgets ready for the taking. According to ONS statistics 25% of burglaries in 2013 to 2014 occurred between 12pm and 6pm during working hours.
Securing your items in the house and in safes are the obvious and immediate preventative measures to take, though doing this will not make up for the violation of privacy felt after a burglary. Trying to stamp out the problem at its source will mean not advertising your house to burglars via easy to access platforms such as social media.
Here are the social media steps that you should take to avoid being the victim of a burglary:
Don’t allow strangers to see personal information. Your home address and other sensitive information should only be seen by close friends who you trust. Use this step-by-step guide on how to lock down your personal details.
Avoid posting pictures of your new iPad or expensive jewellery
These will tell a burglar which items they should look for if they were to break in. Even if someone is a friend of a friend on Facebook or follows you on social media it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t take advantage of an opportunity when they see it. 39% of burglary victims stated that the offender was ‘known well’ to them.
Avoid tagging yourself at an airport or on holiday
This might be your way of telling friends where you are, but checking in at an airport on social media can tell a burglar if they have a window of opportunity. The same will go for tagging any locations which could tell burglars that the house is empty.
Don’t divulge your daily routine
A burglar wants to know when the best time is to get into the house. If it is known when the house is empty on a regular basis this would be information a burglar would use.
Of course there are many factors that can affect how at risk you are of burglary in your area and you can find out how at risk your area is from the Safe Shop Burglary Map of the UK. Don’t give burglars an easy ride by advertising important information that can be used to their advantage. Think twice before putting up that next status or photo on holiday and make sure you know who is able to look through your social media accounts.