It’s soooo easy for a criminal to find empty houses on Facebook.
Most of us know it isn’t a good idea to post vacation photos on Facebook when we’re out of town. It’s so tempting though when you catch the perfect photo of a sunset or your toes in the sand with a cold drink in your hand.
You can wait until you get home. Some folks can’t wait that long.
If you post those vacation photos publicly on Facebook, anyone you’re not friends with can see them. Even people who aren’t on Facebook at all can view your vacation pictures.
Here’s how easy it is for a bad guy to find an empty house to burgle:
- Visit a public Facebook group in their area
- Click on a list of members
- Pick one and choose to see their public Facebook profile
- Find a member who’s posting vacation photos
Sure it might take them a while to find what they’re looking for, but bad guys generally do bad things for a living. They have time to do some homework.
Sadly, many people don’t think of this when they’re sitting by a pool somewhere. They’ll post a photo to their profile and newsfeed without changing the privacy settings on the post. You can take a look at where your photos are being displayed by looking at the top of the post. If you see a globe, your posts are public.
You can, and maybe you already have chosen to share photos and posts only with friends.
If you’ve accepted a ton of friend requests from people you don’t know, or don’t know well enough to tell them you’re not home, you should set up a separate friends list and share photos only with those friends.
You’ll want to do this on a computer, not a phone.
Click on Friends, and then “Custom Lists”
Here you can make a list of people you trust. Click on Add/Remove, and add people to the list. When you post a vacation photo, choose to share it only with people on that list. Even if they like or comment on the post, only people on your custom list can see it.
I’ve found custom Friends’ Lists are also good for certain types of posts. We all have friends who are easily offended. You may have friends you don’t want to see your party pics. Friends you may disagree with politically. I created a list of friends who are jerks. Don’t laugh, we all have them. Add their names to that list.
Whenever I want to post something without stirring those people up, I can choose to post to everyone except people on that list.
And in case you think I’m giving bad guys advice on how to use social media to case someone’s joint, they already know people share too much personal information on Facebook.