Thanksgiving Trips and Social Media

We’ve seen the posts of the selfie in the car on the way to NY to see your parents. But did you know 78% of thieves use trips and social media?

thanksgiving trips and social media

Thanksgiving Trips and Social Media

Don’t believe that social media and home break-ins are related?

Google “home break-ins from Facebook posts” and you’ll get over 13 million search results. TV reports, newspaper reports, personal blogs…it’s a long list.

Because it happens all too frequently.

Thanksgiving Trips and Social Media

A recent segment on CNN discusses the risks that you may be taking while updating your Facebook status. You don’t know who is looking at your private information because it’s truly not private – it’s public. They told a story about a woman who found this out the hard way after she posted a simple status message on Facebook that she was going to see a band with her fiancé. It only took the burglars calling the venue to find out what time the show was to let them know when they could break into her home. The burglars showed up 35 minutes after she left for the concert.

thanksgiving trips ans social mediaYou’ve seen the post on Facebook: A friend at the airport, pictures of the departure board. She posts a selfie, all excited for a family reunion over the holidays with the text, “Heading off for Thanksgiving! See you next week!”

What’s wrong with that picture?

Did she really want anyone to know her house would be empty for the next 5 days?

There’s nothing wrong with keeping in touch with your family and friends on social media. But if you’re not careful, the wrong people could be looking at your check-ins, status updates, tweets and other social media posts.

Those “wrong people” would be the burglars, thieves, stalkers and other criminals. According to one recent survey, more than 75 percent of convicted burglars admitted that they use social media posts combined with Google street view to target victims.

Thanksgiving Trips and Social Media

Don’t be a victim! – 5 Ways to be more careful

Limit Revealing Posts

facebookWe get it. You are having a blast and you want the world to know it, but you will settle for your friends and family and post away on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more…. but here at ESS Global, we strongly suggest against sharing your activity outside your home in real time.

Remember the days when we used cameras, then came home and waited days for the pictures to be developed at the drugstore? It’s a bit easier now, but wait until you are home to share your event or vacation stories on social media.

Or at least get a house sitter.

Location Sharing Service and Applications

girl-926622_1280If you use mobile apps that include location sharing features, such as Facebook, get to know the privacy features and use them. Make sure your phone isn’t syncing up with other social networks that aren’t as private. If they do, you might be broadcasting your location to people you don’t even know.

One example of this is when you post a picture to Instagram, your location data is shared with Facebook. Get the picture?

To be even safer, turn off your GPS when you don’t need it. And that includes inside your home.

Pictures

Taking a picture of the nice new car you bought? With your home sitting right behind it? Great. Now take a pic of the house clearly. Post it on Facebook…then hover over it and right click and “search google for this image”.

And you will never ever post a picture of your house again. It’s that easy. That’s why thieves love street view.

And again…when you are away from home, try to resist the urge to post that picture of the Grand Canyon. Or the Thanksgiving turkey at your mom’s house.

Which Leads us to Reverse Image Search

google-logo-newSo perhaps you have decided a blog is a better way to go. You can use a different name and have some anonymity. But maybe you post the same image in a different post on Twitter….or Facebook.

Now…if I fall across your blog aptly named Superstar, and right click that image to do a “Search Google for this image”, BOOM! I see Google found that very same image on your Facebook page. Now I know your username!

From there they have your real name or can easily piece together your real name and then all they have to do is pop it into a people-search directory to come up with your home address.

Done.

A Friend of a Friend of a….

trips and social mediaEven if your profiles are private, you still need to be careful about what you post. Not every person on your friends list is someone you can necessarily trust, especially if you “friend” people who you don’t know in real life.

Also, depending on your settings, friends of friends of friends might be able to see your post when they have liked or commented on it.

So friend A likes or comments on your post. Now, A’s friends B – Z see that in their feed…and from there it can multiply. So your post can be seen by virtually everyone and anyone.

So even if your settings are private, watch what you post.

According to the Pew Research Center, 92% of those surveyed post their full, real name on social media. Eighty-two percent post their birthday and 71% post the name of the city they live in. Individually, these pieces of information aren’t terribly harmful. However, when a thief knows your name, birthday and city of residence it’s not that hard at all to get your address.

We understand that most people want to use their full name on their social media profiles, even though that’s not the absolute safest course of action.

But at the very least you shouldn’t post your birthday or your location.

Bonus – Hashtags

Thieves love hashtags. Like #VacationTime or #Vacation. They target these hashtags to discover when people are away from home.

You wouldn’t put a sign out in front of your home saying “Away For a Week”, why would you do that digitally?

There’s no need to totally abandon your social media profiles. Just be careful and be aware of what you’re posting. Done correctly, your social media profiles can send a clear message:

#NoToThieves.

Have a Happy and SAFE Thanksgiving!

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