Why advertise to burglars when your home will be empty?

Are you a social media addict that cannot help advertising your location 24/7? Your addiction could be putting your home at risk

One thing I’ve never understood is why people advertise to all and sundry about when and where they are going on holiday. It is a message I’ve tried to get into the heads of friends for years but people seem to have very short memories. A whopping 78% of burglars use social media to target their victims, is your Facebook post really that important?

A typical example of this is writing messages on Facebook giving a countdown on the number of days it will be before you go away. Then, posting a holiday of pic of you waiting to board a Virgin Airlines flight to Orlando and regular updates during the course of the holiday coupled with pictures of the Magic Kingdom leaving no doubt that your home will be unoccupied.

Another pointless exercise is ‘checking in’ to hotels, airports, places of significance. This is done probably more for the purpose of showing off more than anything else. But, it confirms to criminals (the 78% of burglars that use social media to target victims) that you are not at home, leaving your home at risk.

Let’s take the Sunshine State of Florida for example. You don’t go to Florida for less than a week, so anybody can see that your property will be empty for at least 7 days from the date of the photographs of the happy, smiling holiday makers (aka possible burglary victims) were posted online!

There is nothing to gain from regular postings on Facebook of how excited you are, prior to going away on holiday in 10 days, 9 days, 8 days time etc, etc and regularly updating your profiles with photographs of your family having a great time at Wet ‘n’ Wild, Typhoon Lagoon and Universal Studio’s.

For social media addicts, keeping in regular contact with your Facebook chums may give you some sense of satisfaction (not really sure why though) but you are increasing your chances of a burglary at your home whilst you are away.

You’ve told the ‘world wide web’ when you are going, even shown evidence of the flight you are on. So, every person who has access to Facebook can see your ‘advert’ for a fully furnished home with nobody coming back for a week or two. Okay, there are security restrictions on Facebook but even if you allow ‘friends of friends’ to see your profile, there are sure to be some ‘bandits’ in the group – the law of averages says there has to be!

Even if you restrict access to friends only, who has Facebook friends’ and knows and trusts every one of them? Many people accept, or make friend requests to somebody they’ve met on holiday, in a bar, or somebody they’ve met in a late night queue outside HMV waiting for the latest XBox game to be released at midnight! Some people have many hundreds of ‘friends’ – are they all real friends or are they people they have had contact with at some point? Do you know for sure that all your Facebook friends (and their friends) are nice, lovely, honest people that would have no qualms about making a few quid by breaking into your home and selling stolen property if they could?

Most people have standard home insurance which covers them for buildings and contents and this cover will likely extend to include the householder taking holidays of up to 30 days, so you should be covered by insurance whilst the property is empty. But do you really want to get home from the airport to find your home ransacked – your own actions could even have contributed to the heartache.

What is the best advice for a social media addict when you are on holiday? The best advice is to stop tapping the screens, pick up a real book, apply the sun screen and enjoy the time away! If you really feel the need to share your private family holiday details with the rest of the World, do it when you get safely back home!


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