Don’t become a victim of social media burglary
Showing off your latest holiday on Facebook or Twitter is tempting, but is it worth putting your home’s security at risk?
Did you know that oversharing on social media could get you into trouble?
It turns out that it could be one of the things that could invalidate your home insurance policy.
Sharing too much on social media could leave you open to burglary and a possible loss of insurance cover, says the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Giving too much away
As more and more of us run our lives through social media, it can be easy to forget the real-life risks that sharing too much can create.
Most social media websites and apps now allow you to share your location at any point in time. This makes it abundantly clear that you’re not in your home – not the type of information you want falling into the wrong hands.
And what about posting about your expensive purchases?
Sharing your holiday booking plans or posting a picture of your new swanky bit of kit may be tempting. But it also lets followers know a little too much information about what might be in the house and when you’ll be out of the country.
Even the police are warning about oversharing...
Could you invalidate your insurance policy?
If getting burgled while you’re on holiday isn’t bad enough, there’s a chance your insurer won’t pay out for it too.
Don't think people realise that if you mention on social media that your going away on holiday it could effect your home insurance.— lorraine taylor (@lol_taylor) July 23, 2015
If you share pictures of your latest trip, location and dates for when you’re away, insurers may view this as ‘reckless’, which could potentially invalidate your cover.
This is because most insurance policies state that you must take ‘reasonable care’ in securing your home and its possessions, which includes being discreet about any holidays.
So by making your whereabouts public to everyone, the implication is that you’re not being careful enough in protecting your home.
I am going on a family holiday. My gran has advised that I don't tell anyone when, for fear of a social media mass-burglary.— Oliver Bealby (@oli_jgb) June 20, 2011
Some insurers are even looking into social media activity when it comes to claiming on your home insurance policy.
And those who check-in on Facebook to reveal where they are at the moment may also be refused a payout from their insurer.
What’s more, your policy may be void after a burglary if it becomes apparent you’ve broken the terms and conditions of your policy.
For example, your holiday cover may be limited to 28 days per trip. But if you’ve actually posted on Facebook that you’re backpacking for two months across Europe, this could land you in a spot of bother.
While it’s great to get in touch with your friends and family, be careful about what you share online as you never know who may see your activity.
Here are some tips to keep your information safe online:
1. Think seriously about who can read your posts, and secure your profile by checking privacy settings.
2. Most smartphones now come with GPS trackers – so if your location is automatically switched on, this could make you an easy target.
3. Think before you share – do you really need to make your address or date of birth public? You can easily edit your profile if you want to restrict your personal information online.
4. If you’re going away, make the house appear lived in. If you have newspaper or milk deliveries, cancel them. Consider getting timers for your lights, and ask a family member or neighbour to come round to put the bins out.
5. If you’re unsure what information is out there, just Google yourself and you’ll be able to see what others can see about you.
As well as being more careful of what you share online, there are things you could do to protect your home from burglars. Here’s our top tips to keeping your home more secure.