Going on Holiday? Home Security Risks on Social Media
Lets set the scene, you and your family are off on your summer holidays shortly. Unconsciously you start sharing your adventures with friends and family back at home. With the Accenture of social media, It’s second nature for us these days to take reams of sunshiny selfies and then post them all over our favourite social media platforms for everyone to see. But here’s a severe warning on a home security side. Your holiday stories, or the point that you are away from home and your property is empty, could easily be broadcast over the wrong news feeds unintentionally.
The disturbing reality is that burglars frequently make use of social media to organise their targets. With this in mind, police campaign warning holidaymakers against unveiling their holiday plans to an online audience. Research shows that social media channels are inundated with about 50,000 holiday-related posts daily and that around 80 per cent of burglars utilise social media to plot their next target. One in twelve holidaymakers homes is broken into after posts on social media documenting their travels.
So, how do you protect your belongings while you are away on holiday?
Follow these home security advice points to prevent burglars that are using social media to work out when your home is empty.
Staying quiet is the most straightforward way to protect your home. At the same time, it is empty. – just don’t advertise your holiday on social media! Don’t even talk about it in the lead-up. Do not post photos while you are away. It’s worth leaving your holiday snaps for sharing with friends and family for when you get back, and your home is securely occupied again.
You would also be wise to bypass ‘checking in’ via your social channels when you reach your accommodation. Again it is prudent to leave your Trip Advisor reviews till you get home also, remember that they show the date of posting and also a location.
Tell other people to keep quiet.
It’s all very well and good you staying tight-lipped about your holiday. But this is about as good a chocolate teapot if your loved ones jump on social media to wish you happy holidays. Be very clear to everyone that you don’t want to reveal your whereabouts, maybe hinting that they may choose to take the same path themselves when they go away.
If your holiday is with friends and family, ask them not to tag you in any photos that they post. This leaves you just as exposed as you posting pictures yourself. If you believe you cannot trust your holiday comrades in this regard, the most helpful thing to do is go to your settings and turn off the facility for somebody to tag you.
Modify your privacy settings.
Are you conscious of who can see your posts? If you haven’t hardened your security settings, it may be that anyone with access to the internet could be having a right old nose through your chats and pictures. You determine your connections on social media, so you should decide who can see your posts.
So before going on holiday, take a trip to your privacy settings on all the social platforms you use. Check that you are not sharing personal info with the wrong people. Make sure your settings are not on public.
These links seen below will take you to the privacy settings for some of the leading social platforms:
Also be sure to avoid publishing too much personal information around where you live, your date of birth and where you like to spend time. The less detail you share, the less inclined you are to become a victim.
Be Cautious With Your Home Insurance.
Were you conscious that sharing aspects of your holiday online could invalidate your home insurance policy and any claim you may need to make if your assets are targeted while you are away on holiday?
Many insurance policies will order policyholders to take sensible precaution in maintaining their property safe and secure.
They may well view a social media post announcing that the property is empty as being in breach of this condition.
And Lastly… Secure Your Home Before You Leave.
It’s essential to take steps to suitably secure your home before you go on your holiday, so follow specific home security tips:
Verify your alarm system is working correctly and that your servicing is up to date.
Check that any installed security lighting is in working order. If you don’t have security lights, seriously contemplate having some installed. A light that switches on automatically when motion is detected is an excellent deterrent against would-be trespassers.
Check that your homes CCTV is working well and that you have adequate capability to collect any footage. Once again, if you don’t already have it fitted, it is well worth exploring for the deterrent benefit and the priceless footage that you can utilise in the event of wanting to make a claim.
Install timer lights to come on at night to give the impression of someone being home. Smart home security systems will permit you to control devices like lighting and also closing curtains or blinds remotely from your smartphone.
- Always ensure your locks are functioning correctly. Take all keys out of internal locks and hide them away in a safe or a securely locked cupboard. It is wise that the same goes for your car keys if you’re leaving your vehicle behind.
- Never leave keys for anything in view around your home.
- Secure any valuables in your safe, or someplace else they can’t be reached. This covers tech, jewellery, money and any paperwork that could be used to hijack your identity.
- Ensure hedges and bushes are beautifully trimmed, and the lawn mowed to give the appearance that your property is lived in.
- Cancel any deliveries, so there are no items left outside to drawing attention to the possibility you are away from home.
- Ask a trusted neighbour to keep watch on your property, and that there is no post-left hanging out of the letterbox. That’s another telltale sign for thieves.
- Even better would be for someone to go in every few days to pick the post up off the mat.
Home Security Advice from A&E Locksmiths
Here at A&E Locksmiths, we have the expertise you require to protect your property. Whether you are off on holiday or ordinarily need to heighten the security of your home, we are here to assist. Give us a call, or pop down to our lock shop for the specialist advice you need.