Facebook Friends… or Enemies?
Is your Facebook page putting you at risk?
A new survey shows that millions of Americans are unknowingly making themselves easy targets for home break-ins thanks to careless Facebook status updates.
The survey, conducted by the home security company Protection One, found that 73% of Facebook users have recently posted a status update announcing that they would be away from home for a specified period of time. Security experts say such messages are open invitations for opportunistic burglars.
According to a survey of Facebook.com users conducted in August by Protection One, Inc., 73 percent say they have recently posted status updates announcing that they will be away from home for an extended period of time. Security experts say such messages, which can often be viewed by strangers, may be open invitations for opportunistic would-be burglars.
“Social media may be the latest high-tech tool for criminals looking to commit an old-fashioned crime,” said Richard Ginsburg, president and CEO of Protection One. “Telling the world that you’re not going to be home for a specified period of time is the same as giving a burglar an invitation to rob your home. Refraining from leaving these types of messages is another step homeowners can take to protect themselves, their homes and possessions this weekend and throughout the rest of the year.
“While many of us use social media sites for their many positive attributes – to expand social networks and to share or learn information – as with other aspects of your life, security measures must also be taken when online.”
Home safety experts suggest utilizing the security features on Facebook and other social media sites that allow only personally authorized users to view your status updates and other sensitive information.
Other Tips to Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away
* Consider posting updates and photos online after you return instead of before you leave town or during your trip. Ask your teenagers to do the same;
* Never publish your full address on Facebook or any other social networking site;
* While away from home, secure all windows, including those upstairs to reduce the chance of easy entry and cut tree limbs away from second-story windows;
* Remove objects that might allow access to your home, such as ladders or trashcans that could be used to enter a window or scale a fence;
* Turn your telephone ringer down, so no one outside can hear repeated rings, and review your answering machine message to make sure it does not imply you are away
* Make sure to have all mail, newspapers and deliveries stopped or picked up during travel by a neighbor, friend or relative;
* Never leave a key hidden outside. Burglars know all the best hiding places; A
* Have a friend move your car occasionally if it is parked in the driveway;
* Use timers to operate lights;
* Take care when disposing of product packaging, so that you aren’t “advertising” recent, high-dollar purchases;
* If you have a security system, ask your alarm provider about wireless backup or Web-enabled security in the event your phone line fails or is tampered with and so that you can receive convenient alerts via your cell phone or other PDA, as with Protection One’s eSecure system.
Protection One is one of the largest vertically integrated national providers of sales, installation, monitoring, and maintenance of electronic security systems to homes and businesses and has been recognized as one of “America’s Most Trustworthy Companies” by Forbes.com. For more information about Protection One, visit www.ProtectionOne.com.