April 13, 2016
There is a downside to social media
You see not many people want to know what you had for breakfast but quite a few people want to know where you ate it.
These people are criminals and they really want to know the best time to break into your home to rob you. Of course they don’t make appointments or formally ask you where you are because they don’t need to.
So many people tell the world that they are on holiday that surfing the web for likely homes to rob is now something done by 75% of burglars. Some of them don’t bother with breaking in to your home. They are too busy stealing the car you left on the drive.
A few weeks ago I was in South Africa. I didn’t post this on social media until after I returned. But while I was away i saw posts from quite a number of people I knew. They were in India, New Zealand, the Canaries and a host of other places. And if I could see it so could potential burglars.
I don’t know any burglars
Of course most people don’t know any burglars and haven’t befriended them on Facebook or wherever. But loads of people have hundreds of friends on line. And if one of your friends likes, shares or comments on your post then lots of their friends will see it and they may not be so trustworthy.
My address isn’t on Facebook
You may think that your address can’t be seen on Facebook but if you have posted a picture on Facebook there is a good chance it contains the location it was taken in. Images contain something called an EXIF file. And if the image was taken with a mobile phone it may well add the GPS coordinates to the EXIF file. When you load a picture of your garden or great aunt Gertrude on social media this information can be included. So the burglar knows where the picture was taken and can soon case your joint. To be fair Facebook strips this information from images .. but the same image can be searched for via Google image search and if it is on the web it wil be found. Voila we have your address!
Ohh and just because you can’t seethe EXIF files doesn’t mean that dishonest people can’t . They have made a career out of knowing these things. Some even attended the University of Prison and did master classes in it.
Insurers will not pay up if you’ve revealed to the world that you are on holiday
The media has been alive with stories of how the insurance industry is now checking what you say on on social media. you make a claim and they will check out social media to see if you’ve told the world you are away. And if you did they may well decide you have been negligent and refuse to pay up.
You may not like this and may think it unfair. But their shareholders don’t want to lose their dividend and put pressure on them to hold payments wherever possible. Most insurance policies have a small print section on negligence. It used to mean things like leaving your door unlocked. Today that also means misuse of social media.
Is this a valid way to withhold payments? Well you’ll probably need to challenge them in court to find out. I don’t really fancy your chances.
The solution to burglary
It’s very simple. Don’t use social media to say you are away.
Use social media responsibly.