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Social Media Burglars

With over 1 billion users on Facebook and Twitter alone, social networks are growing immensely. These types of sites are great because they allow users to communicate and share in ways that were not available before. Families and friends can connect all over the world and share news and pictures with each other. Unfortunately for some, the news they share can also make them a target.

In a recent study conducted in the UK, 80% of ex-burglars admitted to using social media sites to target homes.  Status updates about a week long vacation or even a concert you’re going to for the night let burglars know you won’t be home. Nothing is more inviting to a burglar than letting them know your house is unoccupied. Because most burglars will be in and out of your home in a matter of minutes, knowing they can do so uninterrupted is like an open invitation.

An alarming number of Americans polled in the same study admitted that they have disclosed their location using social media sites. While Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook have created a space where it’s common to share what you’re doing, it’s very important to control your privacy settings. If you want to let your friends know about the great concert you’re attending, make sure you’re only telling your trusted friends and not the public site.  Another way you can be “socially safe” is to only “friend” your friends. While this may seem like common sense, social sites allow you to connect with almost anyone in the world. This can make it easy to lose track of all of your social friends.

On the contrary, social media sites are also being used for good. Many victims have turned to Facebook or Twitter to post pictures captured on home security cameras. They’ve created groups and asked for the public’s help catching their attackers. This has proved to be a successful method since a majority of burglars live within miles of your home.

Looking for other ways to keep your home protected? Here are some more ideas:

  • Use lighting to make your home look occupied even when you’re not there
  • Always lock your doors and windows even if you’re only running out for an hour or so
  • Never keep a spare key to your home under the doormat or in a fake rock
  • Keep your hedges and shrubbery clipped to decrease hiding places
  • Arm your alarm system before leaving and never give anyone your access code

Your family’s safety is important. Adjusting privacy settings on social sites and increasing your home’s security are simple ways you can keep your home protected.