That big holiday abroad. That new engagement ring. You’ve just gotta share the details with everyone online. The problem is, it’s not what you share but who you share it with. Whether you’re going on vacation or excited about new purchases, sharing details on social media is a big no-no. Thieves may be lurking near your home or vacation hot spot ready to prey on you.
Here are a few tips about ways to stay safe on social media.
Sharing Your Address, Images of Your Home's Interior or Exterior
Wrong Way: You're renting your home out and show images of your house number, street signs and home's interior. Or, you share images of expensive jewelry and electronics in your home.
Right Way: Your images don’t include a physical location. Or, you block it out.
Why It Matters: Thieves can’t find your address.
Sharing your address or location lets people know where you live. If thieves have images of your home's exterior and your belongings, it's easier for them to break in.
Thieves look for:
- Double locks on doors or alarm systems.
- A gate, security door or buzzer into the building.
- Big-screen TVs, computers and electronics.
- Expensive jewelry and other valuables they might enjoy.
Sharing Your Location, Stating You'll Be Away
Wrong Way: You tell your "fans" you'll be travelling abroad for a month and let them track you. Or, you're renting your space and state you can only show it after eight o'clock because you're gone all day.
Right Way: You turn off GPS tracking, geo-tags and geolocation features on your phone. You ask people to view your space on weekends and don't divulge a time.
Why It Matters: You don't want thieves, predators or your crazy ex to track you.
People can feel like celebrities on social media. But, celebrities have security systems, bodyguards and live in secluded locations. When people can track you, you're more vulnerable to crime and stalkers.
Crimes typically occur during the day. If thieves know you're away all day or for lengthy periods of time, they can break in. Burglars have reportedly used Facebook, Fourspace and Twitter when targeting homes. And, a large majority use Google’s Street View to view properties.
Sharing Travel Dates or Pics While on Vacation
Wrong Way: You share pics as you visit your favourite tourist spots and tag friends and/or family.
Right Way: Wait until after your trip to share pics and tag friends and/or family.
Why It Matters: While you and friends and/or family travel, thieves can break into homes or travel destinations.
Don't discuss travel plans on social media. Thieves troll social media looking for unsuspecting people. Additionally, privacy settings don't mean strangers can’t still view your posts. A friend might read your messages from school or a coffee shop unaware that a third-party is also seeing what's on their computer.
Never tag friends and family until after a trip. Thieves might be reading their messages. And, their employers might read them, too. Wait until after a trip to tag people and share photos.
How to Stay Safe on Social Media and Online
- If you’re renting space, confirm the person’s identity before giving your address.
- List your neighbourhood, not a specific address on sites like Craigslist.
- Change public profiles to private.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) at internet cafes, schools and other public areas. It’s harder for thieves to track your location and view what you’re reading online.
- Remember updates can reveal whereabouts, i.e., restaurants, churches, shopping and travel plans.
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. It might be a fake account.
- Never share your date of birth, address, mother’s maiden name or other personal information. This reduces your identity theft risk.
Ready to Find the Best Home Insurance?
Social media is fun for sharing pictures and videos with friends and family. However, travel details, your whereabouts and expensive gifts shouldn’t be shared online. Thieves could be reading your posts and waiting for a way in.
With Rates.ca, you can get the best travel, auto and property insurance rates at the lowest prices. Compare rates from more than 30 of Canada’s best insurance providers. Get a home insurance quote today!