Social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends around the world, especially during the holidays. However, even though you may set the privacy settings, they can only do so much to limit what others can see and learn about you via your social networks.
According to AAA, 107.3 million Americans will take planes, trains, automobiles and other modes of transportation to travel over the river and through the woods to grandmothers’ house for the holidays.
If you’re planning to join them, be aware that using social media could put your holiday safety and home security at risk. How so? Well, your friends and family may not be the only people paying attention to your posts. Smart thieves are watching not only your house but also your social media channels. So your Facebook live broadcast of your holiday travels, or a photo of your vacation could signal a savvy burglar that it’s safe to probe your home’s security vulnerabilities.
To prevent such unwelcome attention here’s social media tips to protect your home and your belongings when you’re away for the holidays:
- Don’t share photos of your house all decorated for the season because they could show your TV, computer, expensive artwork and other valuable items.
- Don’t post information about your vacation plans to let criminals know no one will be home.
- Disable settings on your devices that identify where you are by using Wi-Fi hotspots or GPS. That way if you tweet or post your geographic location won’t be captured.
- Check your Facebook tagging settings. With Facebook’s privacy settings you can manage the photos and posts you’re tagged in. Enable the timeline review control to prevent posts from appearing automatically on your timeline. Then you can approve the photos taken by family and friends during vacation when you get home.
- Don’t check in on Foursquare and Facebook or post about your vacation. Don’t tweet about it, either.
- Don’t share photos of all the fun you’re having – or blog about your experiences – until you get home. You can write the posts, save them as drafts and publish them when you return.
The best way to protect your home when you’re away is with a smart home security system but following these tips is also critical.