You have a home security system, timers on your lights and a neighbor keeping an eye on your house while you’re on vacation. But posting that pic of you and your spouse on that cruise to your Facebook page could be a serious blow to your home’s security.
Most people post to social media, some more than others. And while these sites have become everyday staples in many people’s lives, they may not realize the implications those “check-ins” and status updates can have to the safety of their home.
While it may be fun to share your location with your friends, or get word out about the awesome pizza at that new restaurant, sharing your location opens up a new level of risk both to yourself and your home.
Checking in on vacation indicates that you aren’t home and that you won’t be for an extended period of time. But, even checking in when out to dinner or at a movie shows that you will be gone for at least a couple of hours. This, actually, may be the more dangerous of the two since you may take more precautions to protect your home when on vacation than when going out for the evening.
No matter where you are going, it’s not always guaranteed that it will be only your friends seeing your check-in.
You might be excited to share pictures of your new home or recently completed renovations, but these posts can pose a threat to your home as well. These pictures give intruders an intimate look at your home; entrances, weaknesses, dark areas, etc. While burglars will often check out a house before deciding to break-in, this makes it even easier to learn what they need to know.
“Detailed Status Updates”
You don’t need a picture to gives burglars information about your life. The amount of information many people put in one status update could be more than enough to do some damage. They may say where they will be for the day, what their work schedule is, future dates they will be on vacation, neighborhood activities or more.
A simple status stating that you are heading to a town festival and you’re excited to hang out with your neighbors tells intruders that you and your neighbors will be otherwise occupied for a significant amount of time.
Updates about school sports, kid’s activities, having a baby, they all make people aware of your schedule and movements and sometimes, that information can slip into the wrong hands.
This feature works much the same way as the check-ins but gives even more information about your whereabouts and how long you will be gone. It allows you post specific trip details and dates. For example, “John is traveling from Detroit to Denver.” This will clearly be a multiple day trip and John is obviously not at home. If there are any other posts indicating that John is a single man that just bought a house, it could be quite simple for an intruder to figure out the location.
This all gets a little repetitive, but the point is, social media makes it tempting to share our day-to-day activities when we should actually be very cautious about what exactly we are putting online. There are multiple privacy settings that allow you to share with only your family and friends, to hide certain aspects of your profile, and to guard your updates from prying eyes…but, it’s still the internet. Information can be hacked. Privacy walls broken down. If someone wants information badly enough, there is typically a way for them to find it, especially on social media sites.
So, what can you do?
It’s fun sharing pictures and little details about your life with your friends and family, especially over long distances, and you don’t have to stop doing that. Just, be smart. Look at your profile from an outsiders point of view. How much information are you offering? What could someone do with that information? Be discreet, make sure your privacy setting are high and simply be savvy about the amount of information you put online. Your safety and the security of your home could depend on it.