Are you a social media addict? Do you post your location to sites like Facebook Places, Foursquare, Twitter and Gowalla? Ever wondered if there is a risk to posting that kind of information for all to see on the internet?
After a recent case in New Hampshire, questions regarding the safety of location sharing programs are being raised. After a series of 18 burglaries in New Hampshire, police suspected that social media was used to facilitate the crimes. After further investigation, Nashua police told MSNBC that most of the burglaries involved homes that were "cased" by the suspects. However, two of the burglaries were directly tied to Facebook posts by the homeowners which indicated that they were away on vacation.
Therefore, police indicated that, at least this time, the burglaries were not tied to a location sharing service, i.e. Facebook Places, Twitter, Foursquare. However, the concerns remain the same because the burglaries were tied directly to the information the owners shared online.
The thieves include two Nashua, New Hampshire teens and an adult from Massachusetts who have now been apprehended. The three broke in to homes and stole over $100,000 worth of property, MSNBC reports.
"We know for a fact some of these players were identifying their victims from these social networking sites," Nashua Police Capt. Ronald Dickerson told The Nashua Telegraph.
So what's the lesson to learn from these incidents? It's rather obvious, isn't it? Don't post messages indicating that you aren't home, because it gives a green light to thieves who want to break in to your home. Of course, this is easier said than done, especially considering how addicted most people are to social media. So while it may be difficult to never indicate where you are, use common sense. If you go out for a pizza and feel like posting that to your status, it's probably not too big a risk. If you post, "Going to Belgium for six weeks!!!" You're basically asking for it.