We would all agree that social media has changed our lives and the way we communicate. Many of us would be lost if we did not constantly have our phone handy to stay connected with family and friends. We share the details of special plans, check in to show where we are, and post pictures, video and details of what is going on. Our friends enjoy keeping up with us this way. But there can be a dark side to all this sharing – especially when we’re on vacation.
According to the Prince William County Virginia Police Department, burglars take full advantage of your use of social media to find out where you live, what you have, how long you are likely to be away from your property. They stalk their prey, learning which homes offer the most valuable contents and when it is best to break in. (See more about how burglars use social media in this infographic..)
You can be a savvy social media user and still avoid putting your home at risk while you’re on vacation with the following tips.
- Don’t announce your vacation plans in advance. You’re excited about your upcoming week on the beach and you’d like to share, but resist the urge to post the details or tweet your plans in advance.
- Keep your location private. Mobile devices and laptops have settings that track your location using Wi-Fi hotspots or GPS. By disabling these settings, your geographic location won’t be captured if you tweet or post.
- Review your Facebook settings. With Facebook’s privacy settings, you can control which posts and photos you’re tagged in, but only if you enable the timeline review control which prevents tagged posts from automatically appearing on your timeline. So if you are vacationing with friends who tag you in their photos, you can delay having them show on your timeline until you are at home again.
- Resist the urge to check in while you’re away. Checking-in on social media typically pins your exact location on the social media virtual map. While it lets your friends see where you are, it also shows the same to burglars who might be tracking you.
- Save all the posts for your return. Definitely, do take photos of your vacation experience and go ahead and create posts with the details – just don’t post them in real time. Schedule them to delay posting until you’ve returned home. Consider using a social media management app like HootSuite to write posts and tweets, then schedule them to post at a later date.
- Share, share, share!
- The great thing about using the above approach is that, when you’ve returned, you get to relive it all again by sharing all the moments with friends and family as you publish all those photos, videos, posts, tweets and blog articles, but in the safety of your own home.
Home Insurance Tip
Despite your best efforts, if you find that your home has been burglarized, the first step is to make a police report. Then immediately contact your insurance agent to file a home insurance claim. To do so, you’ll need to know what was lost and what the dollar value was. You will have this information of you’ve taken the time to create a room-by-room home inventory – preferably one that lists all items of value in your home along their cost (or appraised value) and including photographs whenever possible.
The scope of your insurance coverage and options depend entirely upon the policy and the insurance company providing it. This website is not intended to advise, offer or bind coverage. You should always discuss your insurance issues with professionals such as a licensed and qualified insurance agent before making any decisions or choosing a course of action. Ewing Hines & Associates is a full-service insurance agency offering auto insurance for your vehicle, home insurance for homeowners, renters and condo dwellers, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to all of Maryland (MD), Virginia (VA), Washington DC since 1960. Our experienced insurance agents at our office in Kensington, MD welcome your inquiries and are glad to discuss your coverage needs at any time.