Are You Putting Yourself at Risk Online? -
A recent survey by Credit Sesame says that 35% of Americans check-
It sounds pretty harmless, right? After all, what could go wrong with sharing some information with your friends online? As it turns out, a lot could go wrong. Studies show that an alarmingly large number of burglars use social networking websites to identify potential properties for burglary. A survey conducted among ex-
The Way It Works -
One of her online contacts, who happens to be a burglar, reads this message and proceeds to do what any burglar in his place would do. He checks out her profile, makes a note of her address, and uses Google Maps to take a good, close look at the property he is about to burgle. Annie has also posted a lot of photos of her household items – right from the hi-
The scenario could be a little different for different people. Some may post the details of the charity event they are about to attend, some may reveal that they are watching a movie with their family, and someone else may tell their friends about the wedding they are about to attend.
Whatever the scenario is, the result is likely to be the same – a planned, calculated burglary. Studies show that it takes only two minutes for a burglar to break into a home and only about ten minutes to steal everything. In other words, it does not matter if you are going on a long vacation or going out to have a cup of coffee. All a burglar needs is 10 to 15 minutes of alone-
The Stalker Syndrome -
Teenagers, in particular, fall for this trap as they often reveal too much information in an attempt to ‘open themselves up’ to find true love or friendship. This is why a lot of colleges and universities these days ask their students to be very cautious and not share their personal details with strangers online.
The Other Side of the Coin -
In February 2007, police nabbed a University of Connecticut student and charged him for hit-
There have also been many instances where burglars, bullies, rapists, and miscreants have been caught by the police with the help of social media outlets. As a result, law enforcement agencies use social networking websites as a weapon to catch criminals. The Salt Lake City Police Department, for example, has set up an online community policing program to stay in touch with people and solve crimes.
What Can You Do?
Set your social media privacy settings to allow only your friends to see your profile and content.
Do not accept friend requests from strangers.
Do not reveal your day-
Do not let people know when you are not home.
Do not use location-
Do not post photos of your family members (especially kids) or expensive items in your household.
Request Google Maps to blur the images that feature your property, your car, or anything else that you feel is too personal to be in the public domain.
Social networking is a wonderful way to connect with people, make new contacts, share what you know with others, and learn new things. You should, however, be aware of the fact that the web has its fair share of bad elements that prey on the vulnerable. So, watch what you post online and stay safe.
ARTICLES | BY REMUS HOLLAND
Social Networking and Crime
NEVER REVEAL YOUR WHEREABOUTS ONLINE! Studies show that it takes only two minutes for a burglar to break into a home and only about ten minutes to steal everything. In other words, it does not matter if you are going on a long vacation or going out to have a cup of coffee. All a burglar needs is 10 to 15 minutes of alone-
MAY 19, 2014
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