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Check In on Facebook, Get Burglarized at Home

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on December 23, 2011 6:01 AM

Facebook burglary is real. So real that insurance companies in Australia and the United Kingdom are warning people about the consequences of posting their locations online.

That warning also applies here in the U.S., where a string of burglaries was tied to social media just last year. Two of those break-ins were prompted by Facebook posts from homeowners who had gone on vacation.

Even your Facebook friends can't be trusted.

And neither can your Twitter followers, who may be aware of your every move. Going to lunch? Time to case the joint. At that Chinese restaurant two towns over? Time to break in.

You may trust your social media friends, but many burglaries are committed by persons known to the victims. Friends of friends are pretty common burglars, too.

For example, if John Smith comments on your vacation photos, it shows up on his wall and that new Facebook sidebar. All of his friends will see it. If he tells you to pick him up a souvenir in Mexico, they'll all know that you're out of the country. It's a Facebook burglary waiting to happen.

If you've set your Twitter account to "private," followers can still retweet your statements. They can also tell the world that you're at that new downtown bar. People who know your real name and location can use that information to their advantage.

The best defense to a Facebook burglary is to keep your location on the down low and to ask your friends to do the same.  If that's not possible, rig your house so that it looks like someone is always at home.

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