- The end of school.
- Taking off for a summer break vacation.
And for many people, that means sharing your vacation plans and excitement across various social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Unfortunately, it’s not just your friends who are reading your posts.
Would-be criminals looking for easy targets are scouring social media sites, looking for terms like #vacation, #goingaway, #SummerBreak, etc.
Because that tells them your home is going to be empty and ripe for burglarizing.
Courtesy of Aim Lock & Safe, here are some easy-to-follow tips to ensure you keep your home safe while using social media.
Don’t share your vacation plans publicly
As much as you want to tell the world you’re heading for the Cottage this Summer Break, it’s better if you don’t.
- Privacy settings aren’t always reliable: Even though you’ve set your social media privacy settings accordingly, there’s no guarantee they won’t change without you knowing it. Suddenly, your vacation posts may be seen by hundreds of extra people.
- You’re basically telling people when your house is empty: Announcing you’re going away tells would-be thieves when to target and break into your home.
- You never know who’s reading: You’re comfortable with your network of immediate friends. But what about their friends? Or the friends of those friends? You just don’t know if one bad apple will read your post, figure out where you live, and break into your home.
According to a study from the UK (Source: DailyMail.co.uk), travelers share the following while on a 7-day vacation:
- Facebook status updates: 10 times.
- Tweets: 4 times.
- Instagram: 2 pictures.
That’s 16 clues the bad guys can pick up on.
Don’t post pictures while you’re on vacation
When your friends see that postcard-perfect picture of you on a sunny beach, they’ll think “I wish I was there.”
When would-be burglars see those pictures, they think “If they’re at the beach; that means their house must be empty.”
It sounds unlikely and far-fetched, but it does happen. A 2011 article posted on ZDNet confirms that 80% of burglars use social media to identify and take advantage of potential targets.
As you wait until you return to share your awesome vacation pictures, make sure you also do the following:
- Turn off any geo-location capabilities on your phone.
- Don’t publicly “check in” to places like hotels, airports, restaurants, etc.
Here’s something you can do:
As you take pictures, you can “schedule” Facebook to post them at certain dates/times (just make sure they occur after you come home).
That way, you don’t have to worry about remembering to upload/share/tag them when you get back.
Don’t tag anyone you’re traveling with
Going away this summer break with friends and family?
Don’t tag them in pictures and status updates. If you do, you’re giving away their current location as well as yours.
Wait until you get home to tag anyone.
Or, if you’re worried about getting tagged yourself, deactivate any tagging features on Facebook or any other social media channel which uses them.
Get the kids on board
Teenagers in particular are always on social media; even when there’s nothing going on.
So you can just imagine how much they’ll share when they’re going somewhere special for summer break.
Set some ground rules for using social media while you’re away.
Lastly, make sure you’re connected to your kids as friends and/or followers on Facebook or Twitter. That way, if they post anything they shouldn’t, you’ll see it and can have it removed ASAP.
Other things you can do
In addition to being mindful of social media usage, there are other ways to keep your home safe while you’re on vacation:
- Hold all mail delivery.
- Keep up the appearance of someone being home.
- Place valuable items inside a home safe.
- Highlight your home security system (even if you don’t own one).
- Repair any vulnerable door frames, windows, locks & hardware before departing.
Contact us for more information
No matter where you’re going this March Break, we hope you have a safe and wonderful trip.
We also hope that you return to a home that’s in the same condition as you left it.
If you have questions about our home security products – or if you’re looking for information and advice – we’ve got the answers you need.
Tell us whatever it is you want to know. Our team of experienced locksmiths will get back to you with the info you’re looking for.