Social media: how to prevent home theft while on vacation

Family packing the car with bags and suitcases for a vacation

If preventing a break-in at your home is a top priority for you, consider how your social media activities could play a factor. While you may want to post that perfect selfie while on vacation to let everyone know that you are living your best life, doing so may be putting your home security at risk by unintentionally inviting a potential break-in.

With many travel restrictions lifted, Canadians seem eager to take a vacation. A Léger survey commissioned by Allstate found that 62% of respondents were planning to get away this summer. For about two-fifths of respondents (42%), this will be their first trip since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As a matter of fact, an international survey by travel company found that about two-thirds of Canadians (61%) are planning to go big on their next trip with a “no regrets” style of travel. 

Posting on social media could be putting the security of your home at risk 

According to the Léger survey, almost one out of three respondents who are active on social media (29%) say they post about their vacation plans before or during a trip. More precisely, 10% post in anticipation of their trip to share their travel plans, and 24% post during the trip to reveal that they’re away.

Doing so lets those who see your content know that your home will be or is unsupervised for a certain period of time. For example, some people may choose to geotag their photos, and while most smartphones and digital cameras can record the location where a photo was taken, geotagging can reveal the street address of where you live or, when on vacation, that you’re on a trip – potentially leaving your home vulnerable for a break-in. All of that information can be viewed by not only the people you’re connected with in your social network, but possibly by those they’re connected to as well – and beyond.

Simple social media tips to lower the likelihood of break-ins while on vacation

If you’re planning on leaving your home for a trip, avoid showing your excitement online before or during your travels.You can still post that Instagram-perfect selfie – it’s simply best to wait to do so when back home. Also try to avoid telling people, other than trusted neighbours and family or friends, that you’ll be away from your home.

Technology makes it incredibly easy to share your life on social media. In fact, of the Canadians in the Allstate-commissioned survey that identified themselves as active social media users, 46% of 18-34-year-olds said they post to social media before or during a trip. Some even say they prioritize sharing on social media over keeping their home secure. Check the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts and use them to determine who has access to your personal information. With Facebook, for example, you can set the parameters to only allow “friends” access to detailed personal information rather than “everybody” or “friends of friends.”

Be aware of previous content posted and geotagging on social media

Review pictures previously posted on your accounts and remove any information someone might use to scope you out. For example, photos in your social media channel may include home or apartment door numbers and street names in the background.

Educate the whole family on safe social media practices

It’s important to teach children about the risks of posting online and the inadvertent risk it can cause for a potential home break-in. You might also want to consider monitoring their social media use during the vacation.

It’s also recommended to shutdown and close computers, laptops and other devices like iPads that you leave behind. An expert computer whiz can hack your unused electronic devices remotely and find a way to access your information while you’re away.

Home security systems 

Another way to reduce the risk of home theft is by installing a home security system, such as one by our partner Liberty Smart Home. As well as detecting problems like flood and water damage, a smart home security system can alert you when there is a break-in and help prevent home theft from happening in the first place. You can even access your cameras via smartphone to see what is going on in the house while on vacation.

Review your home insurance policy

Before you leave, it may be worth a discussion with your insurance agent to review your policy and the coverage it provides to help recover from a potential burglary. Home insurance can help protect you from financial loss, but some heirlooms and treasured items sometimes can’t be fully recovered. It’s important to take inventory of your valuables to better track what needs to be replaced in the event of a theft.

What about travel insurance?

Other than keeping your home safe, there are lots of things to think about when making vacation plans. Before packing your bags, look into what you should know about travel insurance before you travel this year.

For more information about travel insurance, be sure to talk to an agent to explore what’s right for you. 

Léger was commissioned by Allstate to conduct a survey among Canadians to find out their travel plans for the summer. In order to meet research objectives, a web survey was conducted May 6-9, 2022, among a sample of 1,534 Canadians of which 1,076 are active on social media, aged 18 and over. To ensure a representative sample of the population, the results were weighted according to the gender, age, mother tongue, province, education and the presence of children in the household.

Disclaimer: The information provided and opinions expressed in this content are based on research and interviews conducted on behalf of Allstate Canada. The interviewees are acting on their own behalf and are not responsible for any personal, professional or ethical liability. This information is provided for your convenience only and should not be construed as cybersecurity, legal or insurance advice.