cyber criminal

How burglars use social media to target victims

It’s not just cybercrimes we expose ourselves to by our increasing use of the internet to manage our lives.

A more common threat than account hacking or identity theft is someone using the information you post on social media against you. For example, 54% of burglars say that posting your status and whereabouts on social media is your biggest mistake. By broadcasting to people that you are away from home, you are advertising that you are leaving your home unprotected.

It is true that burglars are opportunists and will look for the easiest targets but we are now helping them, as 78% of burglars admit to using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google Street View to select victim’s homes.

There’s not much you can do about Google Street View, but you can choose how much you share on other social media websites.

Some simple ways you can protect yourself are:

  • Don’t post that you’re going away on holiday
  • Resist the temptation to upload photos of trips away until you have returned.
  • Don’t Check-In at places when you’re out as you are advertising that you are not at home for the evening or longer.
  • Restrict access to your Facebook page to known Friends rather Public or Friends of Friends. This will mean that only people you have a direct relationship with can see your posts in the first place

All the information you post online, no matter how innocent it may seem, can be potentially used against you by the right person  just waiting for you to make it available to them.

So, think twice before you post and be smart about when you update your online connections with your whereabouts. Someone else may be waiting for an opportunity your absence creates.