Wondering how burglars use social media to find their next target? Want to know what you can do to stop your home being next?
A UK survey has shown that a massive 78% of burglars use social media to find their targets, using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Maps. This is a worrying figure, especially with how much social media plays a part in our everyday lives, with many individuals posting regular life updates.
How do burglars use social media?
Many burglars will trawl through social media looking for their targets. With the multiple updates, photos, information and check-ins posted throughout the day, it isn’t hard to work out someone’s daily routine, place of work and where they live. Burglars can therefore identify a potential target and use the information they’ve provided to commit a burglary.
What are burglars looking for?
When trying to identify a target on social media, burglars are looking for key information that helps them find out more about the person and their habits. Burglars will be looking for someone who has uploaded their information into their ‘about’ section or bio, such as place of work, hometown and place of birth. The burglar can then use this information to look them up on the online 192 electoral roll and access their address as well as other information such as marital status and who else they live with.
Burglars will also look for pictures of a target’s home, updates on if they’re on holiday, as well as identify those who have checked into airports or restaurants – showing they are away from their home for at least a couple of hours, thus giving the burglar the opportunity to strike.
How to prevent being a target of burglary on social media?
Whilst there is nothing wrong about sharing your photos and updating your status, it is important that this information doesn’t get into the wrong hands. There are therefore several steps you can take to prevent yourself from becoming a target of burglary on social media.
Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know on social media. There is a possibility that they are a potential burglar targeting you.
Adjust your privacy settings carefully on all your social media accounts to make sure only those you know can see your information and posts. Platforms such as Facebook have tools to help you control who can find you on Facebook and see what your profile will look like to them.
Burglars can use your personal information to find your home address. Avoid posting information such as your birthday, phone number, hometown and place of work as this makes it easier for a burglar to identify you and target you for theft.
Tagging and ‘Checking-in’
By tagging locations on and ‘checking in’ to locations such as restaurants, hotels and airports immediately tells a burglar that you are away from your home and potentially could be for some time. Don’t give them the opportunity to target you and your home.
Make sure to switch off your location settings on social media. This setting adds your location to anything you post, which can identify to a potential thief whether you are or are not at home. Keep yourself secure by turning off all location or geotagging options on your devices.
It may be tempting to post daily pictures and updates from your holiday but this is a key signal to someone that you are not at home for the next couple of weeks. Refrain from posting until you are safely back at home.
Although a fun and sociable tool, there is a dark side to social media if your personal information gets into the wrong hands. Follow our tips to prevent yourself from being a target of burglary through social media and you will significantly reduce your chances of being a victim.
Want Extra Security?
Still want an extra layer of security? Get in touch with us to discuss how a CCTV and alarm system, as well as a system monitoring package can deter and prevent potential home burglaries. Call us on 0330 094 7404 today.