The holidays are a time for shopping, parties, family dinners and vacations away from home. You’ve probably heard some of the common tips and tricks to keep homes safe while away; leave lights on, have neighbors collect your mail, play music while out shopping, etc. But in the era of Foursquare, Facebook Places and other location-based apps, it’s easy to put yourself in danger.
“The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home. So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the Internet we’re not home.”
An article from WISTV.com quotes a local Deputy from Wisconsin: “I know you want to share information with friends and family, but don’t post where you’re going to be and how long you’re going to be there,” Lt. Gonzalez told WISTV. “You’ll be surprised how thieves can get on that social media website and find out, one, where you live at, who you are and how long you’re going to be gone.”
Consider these social media safety tips for the holiday season:
1. Never post that you’re going to be on vacation. Your friends can see pictures when you get back; posting that you will be away for an extended amount of time is an invitation for thieves.
2. If you let people know you’re going out, don’t say for how long. Without knowing when you will return, criminals won’t have the confidence that you’ll be gone long enough to plan a crime.
3. Be wary of which products/stores you check into and post pictures from. If you frequently check in at your home, then your address is easy to find. Combine that with check-ins at high-end stores or pictures of expensive gifts and bad guys will know exactly where to find those gifts.
4. If your home is listed on check-in sites, don’t use your actual address. Being generic about where your home is located makes it harder for people to find you, your family, and your stuff.
5. Be selective about posting pictures from inside your home. Posting photos of elaborate decorations or gifts under the Christmas tree can be enticing to those looking to prey on homes with lots of merchandise.
6.Talk to your kids about social media safety. It’s easy for kids and teens to get caught up in the “game” of checking in with their friends. Explain to them the importance of being safe while sharing information online and why they should be extra vigilant during the holidays.
Have more tips? Join the conversation and leave a comment with more ideas about how to stay safe online during the holidays.