- Do you or your kids have a Facebook account?
- How about Twitter? MySpace? Google+?
- When you are shopping for an appliance or a home, do you use the internet?
- Do you go online to do shopping or research?
Some call the internet the World “Wild” Web. Why? Read one and you shall be in the know….
Up until 1999, the internet was populated with static web pages that offered the surfer very little content and almost zero interaction. Then Web 2.0 came into the world and that changed how the average Joe or Jane got information.
This new Web allowed users to interact and collaborate with each other in social media websites in a virtual community. Face to face interaction became relegated to the click of a mouse! Up until 2.0 websites had limited content and offered only passive viewing of content. Web 2.0 sites include social networking sites such Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare, blogs, wikis, YouTube, mashups and more.
The plethora of social media and active content provides the internet user a much richer experience and easy access to information. This exciting ease of access also gave the criminally minded person a new tool! Information. All at the click of a mouse.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Trulia, Zillow, Google Streetview and others have given the thief an indispensable tool for planning its new target and acquisition. Websites and services like Foursquare, Facebook, Twitter and others can be mined by criminals to provide data for safer violations of homeowners. In the past, burglars made use of printed materials such as obituaries and For Sale notices to steal from their victims.
Now with the ever rising use of social media, burglars now have easier access to specific information regarding your home than ever!
By using these sites, burglars can make use of tactics usually employed by more hard working thieves such as stalkers. But now the burglar can easily determine when your home and possessions are most vulnerable and where to find the best loot.
For example, the real estate website Trulia often has specific home value demographics, street view images and even interior photographs provided by the listing agent. What better way for a burglar to plan its next attack.
What can you do to protect your home?
Don’t’ advertise! First and foremost,coach your entire family to limit the amount of personal information that gets posted online. Never put your vacation plans or shopping excursions on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Secure your profile. Always use more security on Facebook than you think you need. Share only information that is truly personal with close well-known friends and family, but even then, Never post any intelligence about your whereabouts and when your home will be vacant. It is statistically proven that those who know thieves use social media to plan their next target are better about limiting personal content and securing their information.
Install an alarm system. Regardless whether a thief plans in advance, the majority of burglars indicate they would consider a number of factors before committing a burglary. According to a recent University of North Carolina study that interviewed convicted burglars, the largest portion of perpetrators would consider surveillance equipment, followed by alarms, people inside the home, dogs, and cars in the driveway as a deterrent.Notably, both the planners and those who did not plan were likely to seek alternative targets if they detected the presence of an alarm.
Crime never sleeps and is always patient. Protecting yourself is the way you can keep one step ahead, keeping your home and family safe.