Social Media is our largest public forum. Our newsfeeds are a constant and steady stream of the personal details of our friends and families’ lives. When something major happens in our lives we take to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to post pictures, Tweet and make status updates. But there are times when the information that we post on our social media accounts can be used against us. Here are a few ways that over sharing on social media can put you in harm’s way.
The ability to “check in” places using social media has made it easier than ever to share an exciting and important location with our followers. But letting the social media world know that you have just arrived at Grandmas house for Christmas Eve dinner has the potential to cost you. That seemingly harmless Face book status: “Can’t wait to go to Hawaii next week!!!!” is really placing a target on your home for would be burglars.
In a July 2013 article from the International Business Times, David Walsh, the chief executive of Netwatch, discussed a warning issued in June of 2013, saying,
“You may think that checking in at the airport is a nice way to let your friends and family know that you’re going on holiday, but in reality you are also letting people know that your home is empty and an easy target,” he added. “If you want to share your holiday plans, don’t do it in real time, wait until you are safely home.”
The holiday season is upon us and gift giving is a major part of many families’ seasonal celebrations. While it is tempting to post a snapshot of the shiny new laptop or the freshly acquired diamond bracelet on Instagram it could end up costing you those holiday presents. Potential burglars view these kinds of posts as a kind of inventory system for possible thefts. The potential criminal sees the photos of the expensive gifts, and goes onto your profile and after collecting personal information can find your home address.
But worry not, social media mavens, there are ways of sharing your holiday fun with your followers without it costing you.
Ensure that the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts have been updated. Most social media platforms have privacy controls that allow you to limit who has access to your profile page, including statuses and photographs. Share photographs of that fabulous exotic vacation after you have returned. If you must share with your followers, send it in a private message to only those most trusted of acquaintances. Most social media networks allow you to tier your contacts in this way, so you can share more personal posts with only your closest family and friends.
We all want to connect with our loved ones this holiday season and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can be great way of doing that. Just make sure that you aren’t giving would be burglars a Holiday bonus.