Social media: better to be safe than sorry

Social media: better to be safe than sorry

 What not to post on social media

Many people don’t realise that posting on social media sites about holidays could not only give burglars and other criminals crucial information, it could also negate any home insurance they may have.

The threat has become so serious that the UK Police recently warned “Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a risk if people know you are away and your home is empty”.

Claims for theft could be rejected

And it means that insurers are increasingly taking a dim view of such behaviour. Updates such as ‘Look at our lovely pool!’, ‘Scorchio: 35 degrees here in Marbella’ or ‘New York skyline from our hotel’, might be great for showing off, but to insurance firms they show a lack of ‘reasonable care’.

So if you’re burgled while away, any cover claim you make could be denied because insurers can see from your timeline that you knowingly ‘advertised’ you weren’t at home.

Tips for online behaviour while away

So if you’re thinking of going away this summer, here are a number of tips for how to handle your online presence on sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter:

  1. Message privacy – If you can’t resist using social media in relation to holidays, make sure your privacy settings mean your status updates, location and posts can only be seen by friends.

Be aware that this still doesn’t make it totally ‘safe’, as your posts can still be copied in screenshots, or the details simply emailed on by ‘friends’ to friends of friends, or whoever.

  1. Location, location – There’s nothing a burglar likes more than knowing they’ve got all the time in the world to ransack a house, but this is exactly the sort of information your activity online can provide them with.

Nearly all social media sites link users’ images and status updates to location, showing where and when they were taken and posted.

  1. Before you go – It might be tempting to post a photo of yourself holding an open passport and plane ticket that you’ve just bought to the Bahamas, or sending it to a holiday group on WhatsApp, but don’t.

Criminals could use sophisticated image enhancing software to access crucial details, such as your passport number, and scam you in future. They may also be able to glean your travel dates from the plane ticket, and work out your general movements.

  1. Tagging fellow holidaymakers – Again, it can be tempting to tag friends and family for a bit of online fun while you’re on holiday with them.

However, as with the tips above, you’ll potentially be revealing key details which criminals can use to their advantage.

  1. Automatic updating – Many people set their mobile phones, tablets and watches to update their Facebook or Instagram pages automatically whenever they check into a hotel, arrive at an airport or go for a jog. Once again, by doing so, you’re simply asking for trouble.

Ensure you switch off any such functionality before you go.

 

Policy Expert

If your home is your haven, you’ll want it to have the best protection. Compare quotes from our range of handpicked insurers and tailor a policy to suit you. For more information, you can call our experts on 0330 0600 600 or visit www.policyexpert.co.uk/contact for more ways to reach us.

 

Published 16 May 2017


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