Are you aware of the home security risks inherent to social media? Social media is a fun, easy way to connect with friends and family, but it can also be very dangerous. Here are a few things that you absolutely need to know about keeping your home safe.
Criminals Use Social Media to Search for Potential Victims
You may think that only your friends (or friends of friends) will ever view your social media profile, but there are many criminals who will specifically search for victims in their area. They may, for instance, search for “Grand Rapids, MI” and “vacation” to see who is currently on vacation in that city. Thus, you should never post any information about when you will be leaving the home. If you want to post about a vacation or trip, you should post about it after.
Even a Private Profile Isn’t Always Private
Information that is shared on a private profile can still be shared to other friends–and you may not realize that it has been shared. An excited family member might share your upcoming trip, for instance. Some platforms, such as Facebook, do their best to conceal information; others do not. Ultimately, it’s a good idea not to rely upon privacy settings to protect you; if you don’t want something shared with everyone, don’t share it at all.
Some Platforms May Automatically Post Your Location
Platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook may (if they have your permission) post where you are when you use them. This can be dangerous because someone can easily see that you are out of town–and if they already know that you live alone, they will know that your home is empty. You can go into the settings of your social media accounts to turn off geo-locational features.
Criminals Can Use Social Media to Determine Your Habits
In addition to knowing where you are, some criminals may be able to use your social media accounts to determine where you will be. As an example, they could use your social media accounts to determine when your ordinary work hours are, or when you’re most likely to be picking up the kids. It may seem harmless to talk about your work or home schedule, but it’s usually best to be as vague as possible when posting to social media.
You May Be Revealing Security Issues and Not Realize It
In addition to revealing your schedule and your habits, you could reveal other problems with your security. As an example, you might post a picture of a broken fence, or post about how your child keeps leaving your front door unlocked, or that your dog is all bark and no bite. Always think about things before you post them; if you’re posting about a security issue, make sure you fix it before you post about it.
Overall, it’s easy to see how sharing on social media can represent a risk to your home and your family. The more information you post, the more likely it is that a criminal may feel comfortable intruding upon your home. Thus, it’s a good idea to exercise caution; share as few specifics as possible, control your privacy settings and add only friends and family members who are close to you.