#TechTip: Be careful about what you post online over the holidays. Posted travel info can attract unwanted attention to your empty house.
The holidays are a great time for getting away from the cold to sunny spots down south. Or maybe you’re planning a trip to visit family over the holidays. Whatever your plans are, enjoy them. Take lots of pictures. Tell all your friends how great your trip was (or not so great, depending!) but just make sure to tell them AFTER you get back.
Social media is a wonderful tool to share your memories with friends and family about your travels and allow them to experience what you are in real time vicariously through you. But this has also led to a number of unsavory individuals trolling the internet finding you your house is empty, and then proceeding to make sure your house is empty before you return home.
Here are a few tips to ensure you and your home are safe:
- Don’t post your travel plans in advance on social media. A tweet saying “Off to Cancun for the next week” might as well say “House is empty for the next week. Take what you want”
- Know your Social media platforms. Twitter, Instagram and many others are public so anyone can see what you post. Facebook and Google+ allow you to restrict who sees what posts. If you are intending to post things online, choose outlets that reduce the likelihood of criminals finding out you are away
- Foursquare is great for checking into places, especially when away, but make sure the list of people who follow you are actual friends, and don’t post your checkins to Twitter
- Instagram is wonderful for sharing your pictures and videos, but again it is publicly accessible. Save the pictures on your camera or smartphone until you have returned or are on your way home.
- Make sure you have friends or neighbours checking on your place while you are gone.
- Put lights on timers, or for those wanting to go the extra mile, set up a home automation system that you can remotely connect to while away
Don’t start the new year having to deal with insurance companies to replace all your home contents. Take precautions and have an enjoyable trip.