Handle Social Networking with Care: Facebook Updates Lead to Series of Burglaries

Once more we are reminded that when it comes to social networking, information goes public and it can have negative consequences on our well being. After Twitter being suspected to have lead to burglaries, it is not Facebook’s turn to be linked to home robberies, with thieves using details on Facebook posts to decide which houses are easiest to rob.

Heavy social media sites users tend to announce their online friends when they go on vacation. They say where they are going and for how long and quite a lot of them have details such as their home address or phone number listed online. It is easy to track such “out of the office” Facebook updates to track which houses are empty and poorly supervised.

This was the case of a burglary ring recently discovered and stopped by the Nashua police. They targeted homes known to be empty due to revealing Facebook postings or other such updates on social media sites. In August alone, there were 50 robbed houses in Nashua and the police managed to recover between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of stolen goods during their investigation. They now have to determine which were committed by the ring and which of the goods were stolen in the Facebook scheme (up to now they have already closed 18 robbery cases).

“Be careful of what you post on these social networking sites,” said Capt. Ron Dickerson. “We know for a fact that some of these players, some of these criminals, were looking on these sites and identifying their targets through these social networking sites.”

Our advice is simple: try not to reveal too much about where you actually live. We know that when your job or lifestyle involves a lot of online networking and active presence on social media website, disappearing without a word is not exactly an option. Instead of pulling disappearing acts every time you’re out of town, make sure you keep location details to a minimum (city only) and that when you live, you have an alarm system in place or ask your neighbors to supervise your house.

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