Social networking sites tell robbers when you are away from home

02/19/2010 06:34
Social networking sites tell robbers when you are away from home

Sharing every happening in your life with friends and family on social networking sites is getting more and more popular. However, providing up-to-the-minute updates on websites such as Twitter or Foursquare has also made it a lot easier for users to fall victims of crime.

According to a new Dutch website with the tongue-in-cheek name of Please Rob Me, social networking websites like Foursquare or Twitter, in which users give out information on their whereabouts, are the ultimate sources for potential burglars.

The Please Rob Me website says: "Our intention is not, and never has been, to have people burglarized." Contrarily, their aim is to show how careless some people are with the information they freely give out on the world wide web.

PleaseRobMe gathers information from other social networking sites like Twitter into one place, listing all the empty homes. You could do the search on Twitter or Facebook by yourself too. Don't blame the website for revealing your location that is already publicly available. The information the website provides on people's movements is searchable by city or by their Twitter username.

"We're leaving the lights on when we're going on a holiday, but we're telling everybody on the internet we're not home," says the website's 22-year-old co-founder Frank Groeneveld.

"The danger is publicly telling people where you are. This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not - home."

Social networking sites tell robbers when you are away from home

Although location-based services do pose a certain security risk, not using any of them won’t do much to protect you from being robbed.
Apart from high-tech solutions, robbers will still find a dozen other ways of figuring out if you are not at home. For instance, they can easily check if the lights are on or if anyone answers the phone.

However, you should not be paranoid about using a service like Twitter or Foursquare. You just have to bear it in mind not to share any info if you’re not totally sure who you’re sharing it with.

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