How your Facebook feed could be dangerous for your home

07 Jun 2016

Did you know that sharing your holiday photos on Facebook increases your chances of being robbed?

Nowadays, we all live our lives online; in fact, over 1 billion people across the world have and use a Facebook account. We all post our daily news and achievements onto our timelines, usually without a second thought. It’s only when we hear about something going very wrong that we actually stop and consider whether our online profiles are doing more harm than good…

In recent years, an increased number of burglaries have been referred to as ‘Facebook robberies’, as criminals have taken advantage of the constant stream of personal information available on social media to plan which homes they will target next. It’s a scary thought, and one that most of us could potentially become a victim of, if we’re not more careful about what we post.

Our tips apply to all social media usage, but Facebook is by far the most popular site for burglars to search for tip offs. Perhaps it’s because people feel more comfortable sharing personal information on their Facebook feed because it feels just like talking to their friends. However, what most of us forget is that if your friends engage with your post (liking it, sharing it, commenting on it), that means it becomes visible on their friends’ feeds; meaning your posts could end up being seen by hundreds of people that you don’t know at all.

To make sure you never give burglars any tips, here’s your guide to the keeping your social media as safe as possible…

  1. Firstly, take a proper look at your privacy settings. Facebook’s privacy settings are notoriously confusing and many people think their accounts are a lot more protected than they actually are. Going through your settings to make your information, photos and timeline as private as possible is an excellent idea and means that only your friends will be able to see this content. As an extra precaution, whenever you post anything new to your Facebook, choose the option for it to only be viewed by your ‘friends’ – if you select ‘friends of friends’ this means people you don’t know will be able to see it.
  2. As much as you might want to, don’t post about anything valuable on your Facebook account. It’s human nature to want to show off when you’ve received a gift or bought yourself a special treat, and this is probably one of the main reasons people use social media! But filling your Facebook profile with posts and photos of all the valuable items that are in your home is basically like inviting criminals to come and steal them. Keep the announcements to text messages, or tell your friends in person.
  3. Don’t give away details about when you’ll be leaving your home empty. In the same way, we know it’s very tempting to let everyone know when you’ve booked your next amazing holiday in the sun, but those dates could very well be added to the calendar of someone looking for their next home to target.
  4. Stop ‘checking in’. It might be fun to show off to your friends when you’re in a new and exciting place by using Facebook’s ‘checking in’ feature. However, when you’re ‘checked in’ to a location, that makes it very obvious that you’re not at home! This is a golden opportunity for burglars to strike. And even if your privacy settings are watertight, criminals often search for users in their area who have checked in to airports recently, about to jet off on holiday – so it’s better to completely move away from the ‘check in’ button altogether.
  5. Check your camera setting. Many smartphone cameras automatically include GPS data in photo uploads to Facebook. Double check both your Facebook photo settings and your actual phone camera’s setting to disable this feature and stop it appearing on your posts.

Keeping your Facebook at protected as you can is incredibly important, so if you would like anymore information, or are concerned you’re already under surveillance from potential burglars, please contact us here at Global Investigations.

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