Geek, Tech

Is Social Media Making You a Target For Crime?

There is such a thing as oversharing, but it has nothing to do with your penchant for photographing your morning coffee. It has more to do about the location attached to shared images, and whether or not someone could be stalking you based on the information you’re sharing with your social networks. You may be giving away your location every time you share a picture, and someone you can’t trust may be collecting that information. There’s a real lack of knowledge in regards to information sharing, and that lack of knowledge could make you the victim of a crime.

“Checking in” Lets Burglars Know When You Won’t Be Home

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It’s fun to check-in at a hotel, restaurant, airport, or anywhere else the service is offered (nearly everywhere it seems)! But, is that fun truly worth the risk? Burglars actively out this information, trolling social media networks for information on homeowners.

Your best defense is to avoid checking-in altogether. If you absolute must allow social media to acknowledge your travels, you’d do well to use a fake name, eliminate all identifying information, and make your social networks friends-only. If someone isn’t a friend from real life, how can you be certain they’re not attempting to scam you?

Different social networks offer different privacy settings. It’s important to peruse these features, and take advantage of any privacy settings that can help you protect yourself. The last thing you should ever do is acknowledge to social media when you’re leaving for a long period of time, such as on a vacation. Burglars who’ve been actively watching you on social media can and will use this opportunity to rob you.

If you’ve already announced a trip online, it may be wise to protect your home from burglars just in case. A security system, perhaps equipped with cameras you can view online, is one way to stay safe in the midst of social media disaster. Plus, having an alarm increases the security of the entire neighborhood.

According to the site

“In 2009, researchers at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice concluded that residential burglar alarm systems can have a positive effect on the crime rate of an entire community. Their five-year study also noted the growing availability of dependable home alarm systems thanks to technological advances.”

Are your Friends Truly Your Friends?

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How much can you truly trust the people in your network? Have you met every single person in real life and know without-a-doubt that they are good and honest? It’s doubtful that you do, but you’re not alone. Most people are connected with people they don’t know too well. reports that “58 percent of the world’s population uses social networking. Facebook alone has 1.4 billion users worldwide. Unfortunately, there are many thieves and cyber criminals hiding among that anonymous mass of humanity.”

Of course, it’s an amazing thing to have a vast social network. It makes you feel popular, and perhaps it’s even useful to your business. You can have a lot of friends, even online friends, if you’re very careful about the information you dispense. Never disclose identifying information in your social media statuses, and never allow the social network to attach location trackers to your posts. No one should know where you are, unless you want them to know.

Abuse, harassment, death threats: Social media crimes soaring – police

If having online friends isn’t important to you, then you can go to extra levels to protect yourself. Cut off everyone who you don’t personally know. And remember: even if you’ve cut off everyone you’re uncertain about, your profile may still be visible to friends-of-friends, which continues to put you at risk. You’ll want to make your profile completely private using the social network’s privacy settings. Only this will ensure that your identity remains secret.

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