Holiday social media statuses are helping burglars

Holiday makers who post about their trip on social media are putting themselves at risk of a break-in.

Friday, 14th August 2015, 7:00 am
Home insurance claims can be rejected if victims have helped the criminals by uploading details on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

More than 75 per cent of burglars use the internet to gain information about potential targets.

A recent warning from the Financial Ombudsmen Service has revealed that insurance claims can be rejected if victims have helped the criminals by uploading details on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The watchdog said most insurers have a ‘reasonable care’ clause that prevents them from paying out if the property has essentially been advertised as empty.

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Many insurers will also check social media accounts for holiday selfies, check-ins and statuses in the event of a claim.

The ombudsman said: “People will cancel newspaper deliveries to make their absence less obvious but then post pictures of their trips – and even dates – online for everyone to see.”

Don’t leave your home open

The internet provides burglars with an easy way into your home.

Posts on social media not only inform them about your empty property - statuses about new televisions and pictures with expensive jewellery or gadgets in the background also let criminals know what you’ve got that is worth stealing. 
Don’t forget about your apps - even a seemingly innocuous post that is unrelated to your trip can be revealing your location if the GPS is switched on.

Home security tips

The ‘Yale it’ campaign, by home security specialist Yale, has been launched to improve consumers’ knowledge of basic security by providing useful advice:

1. Check your locks - if you’re going away check your door locks adhere to the latest standards, and check your insurance policy to make sure your locks meet the standard stated, so that you know you’re definitely covered.

2. Don’t forget your windows - these are a common entry point for burglars. Make sure they are all fitted with at least one appropriate lock, especially ground floor windows and patio doors.

3. Invest in a home alarm - A survey by Halifax found that 34 per cent of householders with an alarm said they rarely activated it. Yale’s ‘Easy Fit Smart Phone Alarm’ protects your home and works with a free app, which allows you to monitor the system while you’re away.

4. Protect sheds, garages and outbuildings - many outbuildings contain valuable items, as well as ladders and tools that could help a burglar get into your home. Heavy-duty padlocks, hasps and staples (the device you attach the padlock to) are recommended to secure your shed, while anchor locks and cables can be used to secure individual items, making it harder for the burglar to steal them.

5. Protect your identity - every year, more than 100,000 people in the UK are affected by identity theft. Protect yourself, important documents, passports and other valuables by storing them in a home safe, bolted securely to the floor or wall. Documents containing sensitive information should be shredded.

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