Don’t Share Vacation Pics Until You’re Home Safe

We’ve warned you before about how crooks make use of social media sharing to gain access to victims. Now, there’s some new research that sheds light on the dangers facing vacationers from social media over-sharing.

Specialty insurance company Meemic wants everyone to know the dangers of sharing pictures and details about a vacation while that vacation is still in progress.

Thieves can use this information to rob a house while the owners are away. Other devious types can fake an overseas “emergency” to hustle money out of friends and relatives. Here’s how it works: thieves find out through social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that someone is away on vacation, then frantically write to friends claiming that person has gotten into some trouble overseas, and needs urgent help.

Meemic cites Consumer Reports data showing that 4.8 million people have used Facebook to say where they planned to go on a certain day last year. A full 13 million users have never set, or didn’t know about, Facebook privacy tools, Meemic said, and 28% of users shared all — or almost all –of their wall posts with a global audience.

This is dangerous behavior, but there are ways in which people can protect themselves. In addition to simply not sharing details of your vacation online, you can make use of the aforementioned Facebook privacy tools to limit the amount of sharing you do.

Then, there are the “offline” or “real world” considerations: Meemic points out that people should stop mail and newspaper deliveries before heading out. Some smart new smartphone apps can be used to control lights turning on and off in your home, even while you’re thousands of miles away.

Be sure to make arrangements for lawn mowing, (or snow removal, depending on season), so there aren’t any obvious signs you’re away. Meemic also implores people to tell trusted neighbors about any extended absences. Perhaps they can run interference, or pick up any delivered packages or mail while you’re away.

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