Burglars cite social media as a major tool in planning heists

Stats show crooks check social media, Google Street View to
plan robberies

By Mike Wehner, Tecca | Today in Tech

An easily-accessible service that lets everyone know where you are is a
robber’s dream come true, so it’s no surprise that former burglars cite social media as a major tool in planning heists. But the actual statistics of just how many scope out their victims’ digital lives may come as a shock. In a U.K.-based poll, a staggering 78% of vandals say they’ve used social networking sites to plan their moves ahead of time.

74% of convicted burglars admit that once they picked a target, they used
services like Google Street View to get an up-close-and-personal look at the victim’s home. Street View can provide high-resolution photos of millions of homes across the United States, offering robbers the ability to scope out a location without raising suspicion with a physical drive-by.

Telling the world when you’re leaving your house may not be the
best idea after all

An easily-accessible service that lets everyone know where you are is a
robber’s dream come true, so it’s no surprise that former burglars cite social media as a major tool in planning heists. But the actual statistics of just how many scope out their victims’ digital lives may come as a shock. In a U.K.-based poll, a staggering 78% of vandals say they’ve used social networking sites to plan their moves ahead of time.

74% of convicted burglars admit that once they picked a target, they used
services like Google Street View to get an up-close-and-personal look at the victim’s home. Street View can provide high-resolution photos of millions of homes across the United States, offering robbers the ability to scope out a location without raising suspicion with a physical drive-by.

Google street view car in Brighton, UK, camera...

When planning a robbery, burglars often take to the web, using sites like Facebook
to chose a victim — where key details about their everyday routines is on
display. Users frequently post clues as to their work schedules, habits, and upcoming vacations, giving seedy individuals all the information they need to plan the perfect score. Check-in services such as Foursquare
can offer up-to-the-minute tracking of a potential target’s movements,giving robbers ample time to plan a getaway.

Experts say there are a number of things you can do to keep yourself better protected from potential social networking threats, but it means cutting back on boastful posts and check-ins. Bragging about an upcoming vacation is a no-no, as is constantly checking in with services like Foursquare. You should also keep your social network personas as private as possible, and only add friends who you’ve actually met in person. You can take a look at our Facebook privacy guide to get started on that front.

Google Street View trike.

As for Google Maps, there’s not much you can do to keep images and details
about your home from reaching the wrong hands. But making sure potential
burglars never know whether or not you’re home should go a long way to avoiding
being victimized. To get a full rundown of social network break-in stats be sure to check out Credit Sesame’s detailed infographic.

This article originally appeared on Tecca

More from Tecca:
Detroit Police won’t respond to burglar alarms unless you have proof of a crime

Security firm will update your Facebook status so thieves think you’re home

Thieves steal copper ground wire, cut power to 3,800 homes

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2 thoughts on “Burglars cite social media as a major tool in planning heists

  1. Pingback: Burglars cite social media as a major tool in planning heists | Bloggo Schloggo | Four Blue Hills

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