People put themselves at risk of home break-ins

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People are effectively leaving their homes open to burglary because of a naïve attitude to social media, a study had found.

Personal information, crucial for burglars in targeting properties, is being posted on social media accounts through status updates, photographs, and location tags.

Over two thirds of Leeds social media users could be broadcasting their address, routine, and possessions to burglars by only sporadically privatising their online information.

Despite being a high-risk city for burglaries, over a quarter of residents have never changed their social media privacy settings. This means potential criminals can view what individuals own, and be notified when their home is vacant.

Forty-six per cent of respondents from Leeds admitted to tagging themselves in locations away from their homes, with eating out and going on holiday being the two occasions when they can’t resist reaching for our social profiles. Seventy-five per cent of people having tagged into a restaurant and 56 per cent have done so when abroad.

Not only can burglars openly see these social media profiles, but the profiles themselves are rife with further information that help burglars to get their foot in your front door.

Following a spate of high profile burglaries related to social media – notably former boxing champion Ricky Hatton – it seems that though we wouldn’t leave our windows open or keys in the door, we are taking risks like this every day online.

Security expert, Anthony Neary of the Safe Shop, said: “It’s worrying to see such a high number of Leeds’ social media users putting their homes and possessions at risk, just for the sake of broadcasting a tasty meal. You must be aware of what information you are putting out there. If given the chance burglars now have the opportunity to take advantage of personal information available on social media.

“Ensure that crime can be prevented by securing your accounts to limit what can be seen of posts, location tags, and photographs.

“Our advice is simple: Don’t tweet the burglar!”