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Doncaster Locksmith Social Media Security Advice

15th November 2015

I was walking through Doncaster town centre the other day, taking in the sights as you do, when I looked up at the big screen on the side of the Frenchgate Centre. The sound of an amplified cough had emanated from its direction and on closer inspection, the face of a young chap was emerging onto the screen. This caused a great deal of excitement amongst the passers-by – several of them nearly dropped their Greggs’ pasties, and all around stopped to stare at this odd occurrence. The fella on the screen raised his head and began talking.

“Hello to you all. I am David Hardcastle. I live at 24 Crows Street in Auckley. I am currently away from home, exploring the jungles of Southern Borneo and will not be returning for 3 weeks.”

He then disappeared from the screen as quickly as he’d appeared and the confused onlookers went about their business. All apart from a group of slightly sinister looking men at Clock Corner. They huddled together, whispering to each other, then parted, giving each other a high five, shouted “To Auckley!” and then ran off in an easterly direction.

None of the above events actually happened, of course. That would be ridiculous. But many of us do almost exactly the same thing as the unfortunate (and now-burgled) David Harcastle on a regular basis without even thinking about it. We broadcast to all and sundry that our properties are empty. Not just “all and sundry” actually. We broadcast to “All and sundry and criminals” which is a whole load of criminals worse. 

Leaving your home at risk on social media

Over the summer I saw countless examples of people on Facebook posting pictures, statuses, Candy Crush updates (honestly people, no-one is interested in the latter), advertising the fact that they were off in foreign climes. And why shouldn’t they? After working hard all year they were having a well-deserved break and perhaps wanted to share their two weeks in the sun with friends and family back home. The more mean spirited amongst us might add the word “gloating” to the description but not me, oh no. *coughs*. 

However, the problem comes when the settings we have in place on social media, particularly Facebook, allow people outside of our trusted circle of friends and family view our posts. Do you really know who you’re sharing this information with? Unfortunately there have been many recorded instances of criminals choosing to break into a specific property precisely because they have seen from Facebook or Twitter that the house is unoccupied and they know they can carry out their crimes undisturbed. Which resulted in a very swift comedown for the families returning refreshed from a fortnight of relaxation in the sun only to find a ransacked house.

Who see's your posts - check your privacy settings

I’m not trying to scare readers here, or to say we shouldn’t share information. But what I am urging you to do is to take advantage of the adjustable privacy settings that these sites offer. On Facebook for example, every time you post an update you can decide precisely who sees it by clicking on one of the little arrows at the bottom of the status box. You can limit it to your own Facebook friends,  friends of friends, or choose Public, in which case anyone can see it (depending on your overall privacy settings, of course). Even when sharing with just your own Facebook Friends, you can customise lists of friends, choosing to share different information with different groups. After all, you probably trust a lifelong friend or relative with the information that you’re away from the house more than that random bloke you added to your Friends list whilst half drunk at the pub. 

We should all exercise a bit of caution on social media and realise it is not a whole different animal to the real world; one can definitely impact on the other. So if you’re planning a winter break, a Christmas away with family, or even a long evening out, just think carefully about who you’re sharing this information with, and whether it’s something you’d be happy to have shouted out in the street for all to hear. 

For real-world security advice, or for a free quote on any locksmith-related work, call today on 01302 378 067.

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