Have you posted your first tweet of the day yet? Updated your facebook status? With many people providing intimate details of their lives online there is a concern about privacy and who has access to this information. Last year a former soap star’s house was burgled after she posted a message on twitter stating that her boyfriend was away and she was home alone.
And it’s not just celebrities who are at risk, individuals who have posted messages about being away from home can also be targeted. In a survey undertaken by Friedland of 50 ex- criminals 78% believe that burglars are using social networking sites to identify when home owners are out of town.
Lucy Turner, relationship manager at Northwood Insurance Services explains “Unfortunately people let their guard down online and forget who they are talking to. You wouldn’t tell a stranger your address and that you are away for the week, but that is exactly what some people do unwittingly via certain social media sites. When creating a profile some people are entering a lot of personal information including their address, without suitably altering their security settings. By subsequently posting messages about holidays this could be all the information a burglar needs.”
Our top tips
- Check your privacy settings, who are you sharing your information with, just friends, friends of friends or the wider public?
- Avoid posting your personal details such as your home address or phone number and check what additional information your photos display before you upload
- Avoid posting messages that you are about to go on holiday
- Avoid posting messages and photos about your holiday while you are away
- Only accept friends/follow requests from people you know
- Consider how you can make your home more secure while you are away (timers fitted on lights, fitting an alarm etc)
- Posting your ‘check ins’ is also a risk factor, so be cautious and avoid if you are in any doubt
Make sure you are covered
Tenants insurance offers an additional cover against theft for your personal possessions at home or worldwide when you are travelling, but if the policyholder advertises via social media that their property is vacant, Insurers could well start to reduce any settlement or void claims due to contributory negligence.
By keeping in mind who you are talking to and what you are saying you can help minimise the risk of being burgled. To further protect yourself check your home and contents insurance sums insured are up to date and you are covered if you do become a victim of burglary.