So you think it's really a far-out left-field idea: a burglar studying Facebook and other social media to select homes to rob. Well think again.
A survey, conducted by home security expert Friedland, found:
- 78 percent of burglars use social media to select targets.
- 74 percent touted the virtues of Google Street View.
- 54 percent pointed out how risky it is for social media users to reveal their whereabouts and status.
- 80 percent said a home alarm system would scare them away.
So with everyone and his brother on social media, why wouldn't burglars also jump on this bandwagon?
Why Burglars Love Social Media
- People share every detail of their vacation-while on vacation. If there's a photo of you sipping a margarita in Cancun, a burglar knows he has plenty of time to break into your house. Can't you wait till you're home to post all the photos?
- Apps may have location-sharing features. Find out if yours do and review the privacy features. Did you know that these features can synchronize with other social media and reveal your whereabouts to strangers?
- Do you know just who can see what you post on Facebook? Check the privacy settings and make sure you understand just who can see your posts.
- Applications on your phone may be using your GPS without your knowledge. If you have an Android, go to Settings, then Location Services, then turn off the GPS. For the iPhone go to Settings, Privacy, Location Services and System Services. Turn on Status Bar to see which apps know your every move. For the Windows phone go to Settings, then Location.
- Did you know that a photo is worth a thousand words when posted online? Words that burglars love, too. Crooks could extract "EXIF" data from photos that reveal where and when they were taken-including your home address. Though Facebook strips out this data, many sites don't. EXIF data can be removed.
- In theory, a burglar can do a reverse image search and learn too much about you. He may do a search on one of your images to learn everywhere else it appears in cyberspace, leading to your social media accounts and hence, username/s. If your username is your actual name, and it's not too common like Patricia Adams, and your social media accounts reveal your city, he can find your address via a people-search directory.