Crooks go online to find homes to target

Burglars have moved online to look for homes to rob with the help of Facebook and other social networking sites.

Images and information we post online can help tell thieves whether we have anything worth stealing, and even tells them the best time to break in. Facebook Places can pinpoint exactly where you live to a thief, and your tweets and online conversations tell them when you are going out.

Concerns that burglars are looking for victims online arise from information filtering back from the courts in the UK and USA, where crooks are admitting they spy on social networkers. One burglary gang in Nashua, New Hampshire, admitted to targeting victims that Facebook told them were not at home.  Police finally caught them after they broke into 50 homes and stole belongings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars

What the insurers have not yet revealed is whether they are looking up their customers online as well.

The trend for an insurance company is if they identify a risk, they will then try and increase their prices or avoid a pay out by blaming the claimant for contributing towards their own loss.

The best way to safeguard your home and belongings is to take a few precautions online:

  • Do not post personal information like addresses and phone numbers on Facebook, Twitter or similar sites
  • Block followers you don’t know until you feel you can trust them
  • Switch off services like Facebook Places that broadcast where you live to the world
  • Be careful posting images online or showing off your home on a web cam
  • Keep information about your daily routine strictly to your close friends and family

Remember, not everyone online is a crook, but it is sensible not to reveal everything about yourself to strangers.

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