“OMG! We are SO excited about our trip to the Bahamas! We leave on Tuesday and are gone for an ENTIRE week! #HappyFace #ToesInTheSand”
Chances are, you’ve seen a post like that in your social media stream. The following week will be a flurry of pictures: shots of feet with blue water in the background, selfies on the beach, and images of frosty frozen rum drinks with umbrellas.
And while all of those people’s friends and family are feeling happiness (and perhaps jealousy), others will be feeling something else — excitement. Not excitement for a pal enjoying a great trip, excitement because they now know that person is out of town and their house is empty, leaving it a prime target for a robbery. That’s right — thieves monitor social media to know when people are away. It’s just one of the many very real dangers of oversharing on social media.
People Broadcast Everything on Social Media
While some people have a carefully-curated group of friends and family on social media and only allow them to see their posts, this isn’t typical. For most users, public posts and friends lists that number into the hundreds are the norm. People often don’t give much thought to the strangers out there who are following their every post with intense interest.
These posts include more than just vacation plans. They also include check-ins to various establishments that show you’re not home and announcements of exactly when you won’t be home. “Heading out to take the kids to school and then it’s off to work! #TGIF!”
One of the dangers of oversharing on social media is that strangers not only know when you’re away on vacation; they also get to know your daily schedule and when you’re going to be out for an extended time for the evening. This is like broadcasting to all the thieves in the land that your home is unoccupied and vulnerable.
Among the dangers of oversharing on social media are helping thieves catalog what they’re going to steal when they get inside your empty home. “Look at this bling hubby got me for our anniversary! #MakingBeyonceJealous” or “Watching the SuperBowl in style with our new LED TV!” helps criminals decide that, yes, your house is definitely the one to strike next. “Shiny new revolver! #WatchOutBadGuys” doesn’t do much to deter them, either, as guns are one of the most common items to be stolen when a home invasion happens.
Avoiding the Dangers of Oversharing on Social Media
Sadly, outlining the dangers of oversharing on social media isn’t enough to dissuade most people from letting the world in on their lives and their adventures. If you absolutely can’t wait until you get home from your magical beach trip to show the world where you’ve been, then there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure you’re not putting the pieces back together after returning home to a break-in.
First, do everything you can to avoid making your home an easy mark. Did you know that many thieves simply enter through an unlocked door? Lock all of your doors and windows before leaving. Don’t leave a key outside your home; criminals will check in your planters, underneath door mats, as well as look for fake rocks or anything else that might be hiding a key. In addition to this, trim back any branches or bushes that may give a thief an easy way to lurk near an entrance to your home.
The most important thing you can do to protect your home, however, is to install a complete home security system. In addition to being a huge deterrent to potential thieves, your system will immediately notify you and the authorities (if necessary) should the unexpected happen when you’re away. At the first sign of a door that’s been forced open or glass being shattered, your security system will spring into action, sounding the alarm to frighten criminals away and sending someone to help.
In addition to protecting against break-ins, a home security system will also keep your family safe from threats such as fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. Whether you’re sleeping soundly in your bed or broadcasting on social media that you’re about to head out on vacation or button up your home and head south for the winter, a home security system is an investment that will bring you peace of mind.
At ProTech Security, we have a strong history of experience, innovation, and customer service. The ProTech Security Advantage is more than 30 years of service in Northeast Ohio and a strong commitment to providing quality, cost-effective protection for homes, businesses, educational institutions and government facilities. To see what ProTech Security can do for you, contact us today.