Victoria Police said people who shared personal information on social sites like Facebook raised the risk of being burgled. Picture: AFP AFP


by Chloe Ross November 18 2011 Herald Sun Vic


BURGLARS are using Facebook to find victims who are on holiday and have left their homes empty.

Social networking updates place home owners at a higher risk of break-ins and theft, new insurance agency research shows.

Insurer GIO found about 35 per cent of people shared their location or photos while on holiday, and one in 10 would pinpoint their locations using a GPS tracker such as Facebook’s check-in tool.

Spokesman Duncan Bone said people should be aware of the risks when “checking in” and updating their daily movements online.

“We have seen cases where police suspect people announcing their location on social media might have played a part in a burglary,” Mr Bone said.

“You wouldn’t put a sign on your door advertising the fact that you’re not at home, yet that is essentially what people are doing.”

Victoria Police said rapid growth in online use raised the risk for people who shared personal information on social sites.

“Social network users need to be aware of the audience they are sending this information to,” a spokesperson said.

RACV Insurance manager Paul Northey advised social media users against sharing personal information such as details about their addresses, daily routine, holiday plans or recent purchases.

“Providing easily accessible information on these sites is giving thieves a leg-up and increases your risk of household being targeted for theft,” he said.