As of February 2022, it was revealed that around 57.60 million people are currently using social media – a number that has continued to rise over the years. With an influx of new apps to add to an ever-expanding repertoire, the list of security risks also continues to grow. Thankfully, there are various ways to use your social media safely, but where to start?
By thinking like a burglar and familiarising yourself with the key information they scour the web for, you can take the necessary steps to stay protected online. This will, in turn, ensure that your home and your belongings are kept safe and far away from the prying eyes of burglars.
How to avoid becoming a burglary target online?
Accepting friend requests
Do you know who your friends are online? A common tactic that could be used by burglars is to pose as a seemingly innocent individual who will, once becoming ‘friends’ with you, look for personal information on your page, or hop into your inbox to start a conversation.
In some cases, criminals might even disguise themselves as friends or family members to stand a better chance of accepting their request – so remain cautious. Confirm whether the account is legitimate before being tempted, or if you don’t think you know the person, consider why they would be adding you in the first place. What would you gain from adding them? Does the profile look suspicious? These are the questions you should ask yourself before hitting ‘accept’.
Adjust privacy settings
For most social media platforms, there will be an option to set your account as private. By adjusting your privacy settings, you’ll have complete control over who has access to your profile, reducing the risk of burglars stumbling across sensitive information. Don’t let your account fall into the wrong hands.
Sharing personal information
Never share your personal information with anyone online, or reveal details in your posts which could later be used against you. Sharing your birthday and phone number or revealing your hometown will benefit a burglar as it might bring them closer to finding your address or guessing your password. Not sure your account security is the strongest? Check out our guide on how to create a strong password.
Tagging locations to your posts or checking in to certain locations online tells a burglar that you’re away from home – automatically making your home a more appealing target for theft. Instead, be cautious of the information you share online, and consider whether it’s necessary.
Uploading holiday snaps
Just as sharing your location can unintentionally make you a target for theft, uploading your holiday snaps might also prick a burglar’s ears upon seeing that your home is unoccupied. We’re not saying you need to stop the photos altogether, but just be mindful when uploading. Perhaps set your profile to private for an added layer of privacy. Looking for more information on how to stay safe abroad? Head to one of our previous articles for our best tips and tricks.
Taking pictures of valuable items
Bought a brand new gadget or piece of tech recently? Be cautious of posting it online to prevent luring a burglar into your home. Just as homeowners are encouraged to hide their belongings in a secure environment, you should adopt the same approach online. If you want to show off your new favourite toy – we’re all guilty of that – make sure to set your account to private first and only share with people you trust.
What else can you do?
So, besides staying safe online, what else can you do to avoid your home becoming a target of theft?
Adopt a security-focused mindset
Although there are risks involved when using social media, if you take the steps required to protect your profile, you’re more likely to dodge a burglary. There’s a whole host of other scams to be cautious of online, so if you are an avid social media user, adopt a security-focused mindset to keep yourself safe.