Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

Summary: A few weeks back, while in Vegas for a long weekend, I posted a random Facebook status update from my phone about landing safely and being ready to play some blackjack. Later, when my wife found out that I had done that, she kind of scolded me: "Why don't you just put a big sign on the front lawn that says, "Come on in, burglars!

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A few weeks back, while in Vegas for a long weekend, I posted a random Facebook status update from my phone about landing safely and being ready to play some blackjack. Later, when my wife found out that I had done that, she kind of scolded me: "Why don't you just put a big sign on the front lawn that says, "Come on in, burglars! We're not home." I tried to tell her that she was being paranoid, but now I'm thinking she may have been right.

The burglary of an Arizona video editor is making headlines this week because he thinks that his Facebook and Twitter update habits may have led to it. He not only told his network of social media friends that he was going out of town but also shared some adventures of his road trip to Kansas City. While he was away, someone broke into his home and stole his video editing equipment. From an AP story:

Most people wouldn't leave a recording on a home answering machine telling callers they're on vacation for a week, and most people wouldn't let mail or newspapers pile up while they were away. But users of social media think nothing of posting real-time vacation photos on Facebook showing themselves on beaches hundreds of miles from home, or sending out automatic e-mail messages that say, "I'm out of the country for a week."

Of course, there's no way of knowing that it was someone who saw this information on Twitter or Facebook. It could have been someone who had been watching the neighborhood and found an opportunity to rob the house without interruption.

Still, it makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Next time I head out on a vacation, I pledge to not tell my Facebook friends and Twitter followers that I'm leaving.  The last thing I need is to come hone to a ransacked house.

Topic: Social Enterprise

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60 comments
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  • You already have your list of "suspects"

    Doesn't someone have to be your "friend" or "follow" you to get your updates?
    TRIMTI
    • Not necessarily

      If your updates are public anyone can see them without getting friend or follower status, on Twitter at least. I'm not so sure about Facebook since I don't really use it.
      Tony Agudo
      • COME TO CHICAGO!!!! (We love rubes!!)

        For anyone who is stupid enough to advertise that their home is going to be empty for even a DAY, please come vacation here in Chicago. We love all you rubes. We're your best friend. We can send you home in the latest fashions. There's cracker barrel, packing crate and the easily accessorized cardboard box.

        We may have the Olympics soon, but you don't need to leave the airport to get fleeced......uh,,,,that is, to enjoy the finest entertainment. Why we have plenty of $14 hamburgers and $12 bottled beer.

        And believe me, no one in the world can take better care of your luggage than we can!!

        <a href="http://www.westernnewsco.com">Western News Co (Chicago)</a><br><br>
        Seamus O'Brog
    • You already have your list of "suspects"

      on Facebook, you have to know the person who is wanting to be your friend, and you have to confirm them as to knowing them. On some of the other social networks, you don't have to know them, just "accept" them to be your friend. But no matter, if your profile is open to be viewed by anyone, if you got your address on there, then anyone can see it. But why would you put your address where it is avail for anyone to see?
      ciacaramia
  • Why do you think others really give a sh.....?

    There is something wrong when one feels a need to update others on what you are doing, WHILE you are doing it.

    This and people answering phones while one is talking to them, highlights an absurd need to communicate with anyone who is NOT HERE!

    There is an expression for enlightenment: BE HERE NOW. Unfortunately, most seem to want to think about elsewhere.
    Patanjali
    • Correct!

      I share your thoughts. It is strange that quite a few people want to share every moment of their life with many people they don't even know.

      Why is it?
      PalKerekfy
    • Serves them right

      For being narcissistic idiots who think everyone and their mother cares what they're doing every second of every day.

      I think this story is hilarious.
      Tikigawd22-22131115481823653060060014737332
  • RE: Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

    As a simple example, it's pretty easy to find who is on a plane now: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=on+the+plane
    ian@...
  • Don't share more than you are comfortable with

    Very simple. If you don't share with others in person the details of everything you are doing at the moment, then why do you feel compelled to do it virtually?

    I may be on the paranoid side, but i don't care to share every second of my life in any way possible. It is personal information and I will share with whomever I trust and cares to ask about it.

    That's the main reason why I never use the Wall feature in Facebook. If I have to say something to somebody, I use a private message. You never know who is reading that and what kind of personal information you may be sharing with others that you did not intend to share in the first place.

    I have seen people posting addresses and phone numbers. That's a bit too much.
    fernande-zdnet
  • RE: Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

    I feel the same way about "Out of Office" e-mail messages. Many times they provide TOO MUCH information. "Please, just the facts, ma'am."
    Deacon336
    • RE: Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

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  • RE: Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

    Seriously??? Absolutely NOT. The idiots telling burglars when to strike are those who feel the need to post every detail of their existence on social networking sites. While 99.9% don't give a sh*t what most people do, there are those who have nothing better to do than to take advantage of others' stupidity. Get a life and a grip.
    JDeLupa@...
  • RE: Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

    Thats rubbish.. do you also post your home address when you tweet/FB . And if you do then one of your follower is the burglar. Go figure !
    neeto
  • Re: Are Tweets and Facebook updates telling burglars when to strike?

    My first thought when I read this was that if I were going to post about being away on vacation, I would sort of casually mention in the post that my best buddy from special forces, Rock, was going to be house-sitting for me along with his rottweiler, Fang :-).


    catsbfwa@...
    • Special Invite to Chicago.(You're the guy who leaves the light on, right?!)

      Pleeeeeeeeaaaasssseeeeee come vacation in Chicago!! You're the same guy that leaves the light on and the TV going to scare away burglars, right?

      It's so terrifying to miscreants when we break a huge rear window and neither the light, the TV, your macho friend or the dog come to investigate the noise!

      Pleeeeeeeeaaaaassseeeee come vacation here in Chicago!!!

      <a href="http://www.westernnewsco.com">Western News Co (Chicago)</a><br><br>

      Seamus O'Brog
  • Don't underestimate a crook

    Think that you have to tell a prospective crook that you're on vacation to get hit?

    Nah.

    If they're willing to watch a neighborhood for good targets, how much easier would it be to watch your posting patterns and figure out when you're at work, who's at home, what kind of fancy new video stuff, big screens, and laptops you have hanging around?

    You might want somebody to know you're habits, or that you're gone for a few days, but not EVERYBODY.

    Tweets are for the birds.
    intor1
  • When are we going to learn that privacy is at stake

    Facebook, MySpace, Twit-er, just say no.

    As others have said - my day to day life is none of your business.
    Timpraetor
    • I agree, but...

      If you use those services, then you should USE them not just twit away... I use MySpace and Facebook to let others know what is going on in the Motorcycle life in the Monterey Bay Area. My Address is not there, so like burglars don't get the info... If you want security, make your profile private. Sheesh... It sounds like too many Mac users - they are clu4eless on how to use a computer...
      agohige
    • I agree, but...

      If you use those services, then you should USE them not just twit away... I use MySpace and Facebook to let others know what is going on in the Motorcycle life in the Monterey Bay Area. My Address is not there, so like burglars don't get the info... If you want security, make your profile private. Sheesh... It sounds like too many Mac users - they are clueless on how to use a computer...
      agohige
      • Oh the irony...

        "It sounds like too many Mac users - they are clueless on how to use a computer..."

        You do realise of course, that after making that statement, you double posted. :D
        LeeC