Why You Should Avoid Location Tagging this Christmas
Social media sites can seem like the perfect place to share memorable holiday moments with friends and family, but you need to be careful. Unless you’re posting to a select private group, a Facebook status will be visible to all friends. If the post is shared or liked frequently, it will have even wider exposure. Other social media sites can be even worse: Twitter is a public platform and Instagram photos are public by default unless the account settings are toggled to private.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance criminals will take note of what you post this Christmas. Studies have shown that more than 75 percent of convicted burglars use social media to target their victims. Thieves can gather a vast amount of personal data on social sites, but the easiest and most useful way is through location tagging. Location tagging can show where you live and where you spend most of your time, or that you’re on the other side of the country and won’t be home for a few days. At ReputationDefender we put your privacy first and want to make sure you do the same and so we are issuing a timely warning about how dangerous it can be to share Christmas plans or location on social media.
“Hey guys, out of town for two weeks...Happy Xmas!”
Maybe you want to brag about a cool Christmas vacation or maybe you just want to let friends know that they won’t be able to contact you. Either way, this kind of post is an invitation to burglars, letting them know exactly how much time they have to break into your house without getting caught. Police now issue direct warnings against posting vacation plans and there’s even a possibility that your home insurance company could call this reckless conduct and use it as a basis to invalidate your coverage after a break-in.
Even if you avoid sharing vacation dates, a location tag at the airport as you board a flight will have the same effect. So will checking-in to a hotel or an event in another city or country via Facebook. Even just tagging yourself on a Christmas shopping trip will let burglars know your house and your car is unattended.
Location tagging has become so popular you may not even know how many apps are regularly logging your coordinates. It’s a good idea to double-check and limit the number of apps with location access to only those you really need and use. At the same time, make sure Facebook isn’t automatically syncing what you post to another network.
Putting All the Information Together
You might be surprised as to how much burglars can learn about you from social media. Even if your home address is not listed, a number of location tags or geotags automatically recorded for Instagram photos can give a general idea of where you live. That picture of your house you posted when you first moved in may be all a thief needs to identify it. Don’t assume a location tag is okay, just because alone, it couldn’t be used to attack you. In the context of everything else on the web, it may be just the last piece of data a burglar needs to decide you are the next target. It’s much safer to avoid posting your location and only share holiday plans privately on a need to know basis.
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