Social media is a wonderful thing; it connects you with friends, with family, with those you’ve lost contact with and those you haven’t had contact with before. But like all things web, social media has a dark side.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become a part of everyday life for many, with estimations showing social media users between the ages of 20 and 29 spend an average of 2 hours each day on the sites. 28% of iPhone users check their Twitter feed before they get up in the morning and more than 500 million tweets are sent out worldwide, each day according to international statistics.
With that in mind, the inevitable dangers that come with today’s obsession with ‘updating your profile’ and ‘checking in’ can’t be ignored.
Crooks are now cashing in on the global fixation with online sharing and by posting a picture while you’re on holiday or checking into your favourite restaurant, you could be putting your home at risk from burglary – simply by advertising the fact you aren’t there.
As tempting as it may be to share the details of your day with your friends and family, oversharing could ruin your day entirely. Don’t become a victim of social media burglary; stay safe with our 10 social media dos and don’ts:
1) Don’t give too much away.
You need to ask yourself, is it really necessary for everyone to know this? And, does this potentially put me and my home at risk?
‘Checking in’ at the gym is all well and good and letting everyone know what a great time you’re having on your night out may seem completely harmless – but you must think twice before publicising your absence from home.
2) Do avoid boasting about expensive purchases.
The only person happier about the new TV or laptop you’ve just purchased then yourself, is the potential thief and follower who might also have read about your night out or trip to the gym.
3) Don’t let everyone know you’re away on holiday.
you wouldn’t go outside and announce to the world that your house will be uninhabited for 2 weeks – so don’t do so on the internet.
4) Do post your holiday pictures when you’re home.
People will still be jealous of your beach selfie even after you’ve returned.
5) Do manage your privacy setting.
It’s a fact that burglars are now checking social media to monitor homeowners; don’t make it easy for them to see what you’re doing, make your profile private and take charge of who can see what you post.
6) Do turn your location off.
We aren’t talking about announcing where you are in a tweet or checking in on Facebook; we are talking about physically turning the GPS function on your camera off. Now when you do post something, social media sites can’t reveal where you are.
7) Don’t accept friends requests from strangers.
Random adds might not be that random. Don’t share anything with those you don’t know; you don’t know who they might be sharing your information with.
8) Don’t display personal details on your profile.
Keep your address and phone number private and give them only to those you choose.
9) Don’t tell people about problems with your home or vehicle.
Your neighbours child might well have broken your window with their ball; your locks might have had it on your car and your security alarm could well be playing up – tell a professional not your entire friends list.
10) Don’t announce a party or get together at your house.
That’s unless you want anyone and everyone showing up at your door with no way to protect your property from damage and theft. Private groups can be created for events, and hand written invitations aren’t completely redundant just yet!
And remember, as if being burgled wasn’t bad enough, if you have been careless on social media it could invalidate your insurance policy. Think before you tweet and protect your property before you press ‘post!’
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