Many British adults put homes at risk by ‘over-sharing’ on social media, study claims

'Opportunist thieves can visit people’s profiles and work out when they’re likely to be out of the house'

Richard Jenkins
Thursday 09 August 2018 14:53
One in 10 suspected they've been the victim of a robbery or crime because of something they’ve shared online
One in 10 suspected they've been the victim of a robbery or crime because of something they’ve shared online

Almost a quarter of people polled for a new survey were potentially putting their homes at risk sharing their holidays and days out on social media and revealing they are not in the property.

A study of 2,000 social media users found 22 per cent share this information online, while a further 33 per cent said they had posted a holiday picture when abroad. One in 20 revealed exactly how long they are away for.

More than a quarter of respondents had not checked their privacy settings on social media in more than six months, with one in 10 having never investigated who can and cannot see their posts.

“Home security goes much further than simply the locks on your front door," said a spokesman for Yale, which commissioned the research. As much as making sure your home is as secure as possible is vital, there are also millions of Brits putting themselves at risk without even realising it. Opportunist thieves can visit people’s profiles and work out when they’re likely to be out of the house – and use the chance to strike, knowing they won’t be interrupted.”

One in five respondents suspected they had put their home at risk at some point, due to a careless post on social media, while 10 per cent also believed they had actually been the victim of a robbery or crime because of something they’ve shared online.

Seventeen per cent had shared a picture of a gleaming new car to Twitter, Instagram or similar – with Facebook revealed as the most popular social site for giving away people’s whereabouts.

Almost a tenth had posted a holiday countdown image revealing exactly how long it will be until their home is unattended.

Most were likely to ignore the setting that turns off where exactly their image was posted from, with three in 10 unaware such a thing even existed. On average, respondents will post something on social media that gives away their location three times a month.

A quarter admitted they had never considered their home’s security when making posts on social media and of those that do, 20 per cent continued to post updates anyway despite the potential risk.

A third believed their home security was robust enough to withstand attempted robbery, even if they had alerted burglars to a target, while 18 per cent thought the rewards of social media "likes" are worth potentially being robbed.

“Millions of people have an ‘it will never happen to me’ attitude when it comes to home security," Yale’s spokesman said. “And for most people, it won’t – but the best way to stop a burglary is to give thieves as little as possible to work with. If people are more careful with their online security, then that can only help secure them in the physical world as well.”

SWNS

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