Do you remember having to go to Boots to pick up your holiday snaps? You handed your roll of film in then a few days later, got the prints complete with all the duff shots which you binned straight away. How great is it that you can now take photos with a phone and delete dodgy ones straight away. And then you can post the particularly nice ones online right from the beach and make your pals back at home in rain-soaked England jealous.
Stop right there. While your friends might love seeing your holiday pictures while you’re away so can others. And that could include burglars. According to Policy Expert, 816,000 households are burgled when the homeowners are away. Yet one in five Britons say they post their holiday photos and status updates on social media when they are away – and 9% even tell their followers they are going away. Policy Expert recommends the following to protect your home and yourself online:
1. Keep a tight rein on your privacy settings – check they’re turned on across all accounts, so no information is publicly viewable and you’re not inadvertently sharing your location.
2. Know who your ‘friends’ are – remember what you’re sharing won’t always be confined to your closest family and friends.
3. Resist the urge to overshare – watch out when posting pictures or expensive new purchases too.
4. Make sure your connection is secure - Avoid using public or unsecured wifi networks when travelling.
5. Last but not least... never post personal details (address, details of your bank etc.) anywhere online.
To all that I’d add don’t put your birth date on Facebook – it’s a useful bit of info a fraudster would love. And don’t use your children’s names on your posts – also, don’t like their school’s Facebook site. This is nothing to do with burglary, obviously, but something far more sinister..online grooming.
Back to burglary: there are of course other non-internet things to do to protect your home while away. Cancelling milk deliveries (if anyone has them any longer) goes without saying. Having a neighbour check you don’t have post sticking out of your letterbox is a good idea as is setting indoor and outdoor lights on a timer. A car on the drive may put would-be burglars off. You should also check your household insurance policy to make sure you’re complying with its details – if you are leaving your property unoccupied for a long time then you might not be covered for some risks such as theft, damaged and escape of water. However, unless you’re going away for 30 consecutive days (and often 60 days, depending on the insurer) then you are probably fine. And if you are away for that long, spare us (and the would-be burglars) your photos. We’re not jealous, really....
See our guide to home insurance here