Are your vacation pictures putting your home at risk of robbery?

Tourists take a selfie. YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images

You’re going on vacation and you can’t wait to post pictures to your Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat accounts from the beach/historic monument/foreign country that you’ll be visiting.

But, have you ever stopped and wondered if this puts your home at risk of burglary?

According to a survey by Allstate Insurance that polled 1,007 Quebecers, almost a quarter (23 per cent) of people have posted on social media that they were away from home.

About 52 per cent of Quebecers aged 18 to 24 have shared on social media sites that they were travelling; 43 per cent of people aged 25 to 34 have done the same.

“Although it can be so much fun to share our travel experiences with others, oversharing is a trend that can potentially put the safety of your home at risk,” says Patrizia D’Ignazio, an Allstate Agency manager.

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General tips to keep your home safe include: temporarily stopping mail and newspaper delivery, having a family member check in  periodically and installing an automated lighting system so it looks like someone is home.

Francisco Randez, social media and travel expert, explains cybercriminals are increasingly plotting break-ins based on when they know someone will be away from their home — and with people posting about every second of their lives on social media, it’s gotten way too easy.

“When making travel plans, remembering to lock the front door and turn on the alarm system — if you have one — is one thing,” said Randez.

“But oversharing on your social media pages without the necessary precautions is to be avoided.”

According to the survey, 60 per cent of men and 51 per cent of women do not always deactivate their geolocation on their mobile devices while travelling.

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Geolocation — the identification of the real-world geographic location of an object, such as a mobile phone or computer terminal – and Google Street View have also become easy tools for robbers.

“Travelers may be excited to post a countdown leading up to a trip or getaway, or that they are en route or have arrived at their destination, but they need to be mindful of what, when and how they share online,” insisted Randez.

Randez offers some tips on staying safe on social media

  • Don’t publish your vacation dates on your social media accounts.
  • Check the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts.
  • Before posting pictures, ask yourself if they reveal too much information.
  • Avoid posting photos with geo-tagging. Most smart phones and many digital cameras automatically record the exact location where a photo was taken.
  • Teach your children and other family members to be careful online.
  • Consider posting your photos once you return home instead of throughout the trip.

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