Holidaymakers preparing to head abroad over the next few weeks in search of sea, sand and sunshine, may be tempted to announce their plans on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
But you need to think very carefully before posting information about your trip on any social-networking site, as you are essentially advertising the fact you are going to be away.
Criminals are scouring networking websites
By doing this, you are putting yourself at risk of falling victim to a growing scam which involves fraudsters trawling sites in search of details about people’s travel plans.
In fact, new research from security specialist, eSafes.co.uk, reveals that almost eight out of every 10 burglars look at social media to find ‘empty’ homes during the summer holidays.
Think twice before posting pictures
While you may be keen to post pictures of yourself or ‘status updates’ while you are at the airport or on holiday to show friends where you are, this could alert criminals to the fact your house is empty, and trigger a burglary.
Thieves could then target your property and steal your valuables, safe in the knowledge that you are not at home.
Read our tips for protecting your home while you are away.
Be extra careful when using a smartphone
It’s also worth noting that you could be putting yourself at risk by using a smartphone to post your location – or movements – on social media.
Most smartphones now come with built-in GPS trackers, so if you have your GPS switched on, this could make you an easy target for a social-media savvy burglar.
Could you invalidate your cover?
If you do post a lot of personal information on sites such as Facebook, there is a risk that insurers could view this behaviour as ‘reckless’ – and this could potentially invalidate your cover.
That said, most insurers will not penalise your for using social-networking sites, as long as due care has been taken with security.
The key is to take a sensible approach when posting details of your holiday – perhaps it is best to wait until after you have returned home to post your holiday snaps.
Did you know? You can save up to 20% by buying a Saga home insurance policy online.
Think before you share
If you do want to tell family and friends about your travels on social media, you need to be selective about the information you choose to share.
- Don’t post your address on pages that can be seen by strangers. Also be careful about posting photos of where you live.
- Don’t discuss holiday plans on pages that are accessible to the public.
- Don’t be specific about your dates of travel.
- Don’t make it clear that your home will be empty for any period of time – even if it’s just for the night.
Tips to help you stay safe
- Think carefully about who can read your posts. Make sure settings are locked down to family and friends only.
- Check that your privacy settings are switched on across all your accounts.
- Don’t automatically accept every new person who sends you a “friend request.” Conmen have been known to invite people to become “friends” on Facebook, only to then raid their homes when they go on holiday.
- Only accept friend requests if you can be absolutely sure who the person is.
Going away? Save money by reading our guide to spending abroad.