Updated your FB check-in? – Burglars might check-in to your house as well

Updated your FB check-in? – Burglars might check-in to your house as well
Can’t stop checking-in on social media sites whenever you’re out? Doing that and sharing pictures of your assets could be an open invitation to burglars
Crispy fish at the airports business-class lounge. Off to London for two weeks with family . #VacationBegins #LoveTheFood #NoMoreHeat…But, we’re leaving behind a burglar alarm, a housemaid, CCTV cameras, and a starving dog…,“ is how many social media posts might read from here on. Thanks to the lurking fear of a convenient theft at the little paradise of all those who post their personal details via check-ins (read bragging). Social media addicts love to share details about where they are and what they are doing, but the only trouble is that crooks love it too.Updating check-ins or posting statuses about your exact location on social media leaves you and your houses vulnerable to burglars, which can result in an easy theft of your expensive belongings. And the victims have learnt this the hard way . “I bought a new car in January . It stayed parked outside my house for a month. But only after I posted pictures on my social media page in February, captioning, `Valentine celebrations just get special when you take your loved one in your brand new car .Feeling #red,’ I invited crooks. Within two days, my car was stolen right from the lane near my house in broad daylight. The pictures, especially, worked to their advantage, say all my friends,“ says Sharad Garg, 34.

Mahima Johari, 25, still feels guilty about posting pictures of the antique jewellery her aunt showed her when she went to her house to spend a night. She tells us, “I wore her necklaces as a tiara and wrote, `Feeling stylishly rich. Wish she gifts me her jewels for my friend’s wedding.’ Whenever I update my status, due to my phone’s settings, the location also gets added. During a house party the same weekend, thieves broke into her bedroom, cut open the locker and stole only those two necklaces, while the guests danced to the loud music downstairs. I have a feeling that this was not a coincidence. My post had received about 361 likes.“

No matter how many privacy settings one adjusts on their social media profiles, the posts are -in many ways -public, permanent and, well, exploitable. “After knowing about a lot of cases in my neighbourhood, I’d never let my maids know about my holiday plans or even shopping details, but I did upload a quick check-in and wrote, `Can’t keep calm ‘coz hubby is taking me to Goa for my birthday next week.’ On the day we boarded the flight, a gang stole our laptop, my expensive handbags and cash.Since then, my close friend’s domestic help, who has been with them for five years and who is also my online friend, has mysteriously been missing. We just keep adding random people in our network, and later forget that they should be allowed to view our posts and pictures,“ says Shalini Dutt, 46.

Everyone is talking about how social media is the latest source of easy income for the youth -you can just sit at home and make money. Perhaps, globally, some of those benefitting from social media are robbers -some comprehensive online research and a few hours’ field job. See the box below for some `updates’ from around the world.


Following multiple incidents in the past few years, many police departments the world over have issued a warning about the dangers of posting personal information online.


Police in New Hampshire (England) broke up a robbery ring that was monitoring FB pages to determine when a target would be out of their home, and then robbed it. Out of the 50 home robberies reported in the city in a single month, as many as 18 were linked to the social media gang.


A California-based firm interviewed 50 former burglars and discovered that 80 per cent of robbers used social networking sites to hunt potential places to rob.


Police in Philadelphia, USA, claim boastful posts online about a jewellery inheritance apparently prompted three men to target a home for a robbery. They say the suspects mentioned that they targeted the resident after seeing his social media posts about inheriting expensive jewellery.They stole a high-end watch, gold chains and cellphones.


Two robbers paid a visit to a house in South-eastern Australia, hours after a teenager posted a photo on Facebook of a large sum of cash.The image was at her grandmother’s house in Sydney. The men searched the home address and took a small amount of cash and many personal objects before leaving. The girl had posted a picture on her FB page of a “large sum of cash“ she had helped count at her 72-year-old grandmother’s home.


Avoiding check-ins completely is the safest idea. One can always brag about their lavish dinner or vacations later -once they are back home. Yet, if check-ins are so indispensable, here are a few tips: No public posts Prepare a special list of friends you can boast in front of Don’t tag friends in your posts, since your friends’ friends will be able to see your posts as well and these can be people who are unknown to you Accompanying friends and relatives need to follow the same, for their safety and yours


An online group called Cyber Crime Department uploaded this tagline on their official page in January: “Get savvy about WiFi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct on public wireless networks, and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine. Public Wi-Fi is not secure and leaves you vulnerable to criminals.“