Social media posts while on vacation could bring burglars to your home

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s that time of the year again. People are leaving their homes and heading for a long-awaited summer vacation, but police say posting your vacation plans on social media is an open invitation for burglars to come and visit your home.

Connie Kennedy sees her friends doing it all the time on social media.

“They’ll check in at the Philadelphia airport and say where they’re going. Then, as soon as they get there, they’ll check in at the next airport, and then they’ll check in at the first restaurant they go to. You can almost track them,” Kennedy said.

Police say posting your vacation plans on social media is like handing your house keys to potential thieves.

“It gives them the heads up you’re not going to be home,” Lower Paxton Township police Det. Jeff Corcoran said.

Corcoran says not posting you are going on vacation is the first step in keeping your home safe.

“While you’re away, if you’re posting pictures, if you’re posting exactly where you are, that gives those folks enough time to know that you’re probably at that moment, at that location, and definitely not going to come home for a while,” he said.

Some people may trust their social media friends, but burglars can get information from posts your friends share.

“People think they’re putting pictures out there for their friends and family to see, and what you don’t realize is there’s some settings out there that you might not be aware of. Other people out there could see that and see that you’re not home. If someone shares your photo, their friends could see it and their friends could see it,” said Doni Lee Spiegel, public relations manager with AAA Central Penn.

Spiegel says don’t post your vacation pictures until you get home.

“Your social media contacts could be on unsecured WiFi at a public place, and hackers could see your vacation plans,” Corcoran said.

Connie Kennedy doesn’t upload her vacation photos until she gets home.

“I don’t think people think,” Kennedy said. “I think people do things very quickly without thinking. They’re excited about what they’re doing, they want everyone to see it, they want to share their vacation, but I prefer to share mine when I get home.”

The FBI reports a burglary happens in the United States every 14 seconds. The average burglary costs the victim more than $2,200 and amounts to more than $4 billion in stolen property each year.

Police and AAA have more tips to keep you and your family safe while you’re on vacation:

  • Don’t post anything while you’re on vacation, even if it’s not about your vacation. Your location can show up on a post.
  • Take an inventory of the furniture and other items in your home with a camera before you leave. Look at it when you get back to make sure everything is there.
  • Disconnect your computer and other electronic devices to prevent hackers from getting information.
  • Don’t say you’re on vacation on voice mail or in e-mail.

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