While we all look forward to vacations – and want to announce our amazing plans to the world – oversharing on social media by posting vacation selfies can put our personal safety and the safety of our homes at risk. Today’s social media-savvy burglars are using easily available information online to plot break-ins on their potential victims’ homes.
In the era of social networking, geolocation (the identification of the real-world geographic location of a device such as a mobile phone or laptop) and geo-tagging (the process of attaching location information to content like photos and videos) can be used in conjunction with Google Street View as a sneaky way to plan burglaries. This is especially easy when combined with information indicating that homeowners will be away from their homes for extended periods of time.
Many travellers know the basic home safety procedures to take when going away, like having mail and newspaper deliveries temporarily stopped, and putting lights on timers, but some may not take into account that these efforts could potentially be wasted if they publish that they are away on vacation on social media sites.
How to protect ourselves from break-ins
The good news is that this doesn’t mean we have to stop sharing our activities with our friends online. It just means we should be more careful and mindful of when and how we share. For example, checking the privacy and security settings on our social media accounts and setting them to the highest possible level of security will help limit who can see our information. In addition, disabling geotagging functions and removing geotags from older pictures (using photo editing software) are good tips.
Here’s more advice to help keep you safe: