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2 Tips on how Criminals Use Social Media

A recent story in Mashable describes a young woman in Australia who was helping her grandmother count some cash.  She then took a picture of the cash and posted it to Facebook.   Of course, soon after that, the temptation was too great for 2 would-be thieves who stumbled across her Facebook post and decided they wanted some of it. So, off they want to find the house and try to grab the cash.

Fortunately for the grandmother, but unfortunately for the young woman and her mom, the thieves found the girl and Mom’s house (instead of the grandmother’s house).  They broke in, and took some cash from the mom instead.  Fortunately, no one was injured and it doesn’t say whether the girl and/or Mom were home, but if they were home, it could have been much worse.

And then, from from last October – 

Most burglars using Facebook and Twitter to target victims.  It states, from a survey of convicted criminals, that “four out of five of the criminals polled said social media websites were being used by burglars.”  Of course there’s some debate about as to how much honesty you can get from convicted criminals about this, but, there must be some truth to it.  And, really, does it actually matter it’s it 4 out of 5 or 2 out of 5? No, it doesn’t.  Because, as long as you’re posting information to Social Media outlets, it’s available for people to see and act on.

From the Dayton Daily News

In Sept. 2010, police in Nashua, N.H., said they busted a burglary ring in which the three suspects targeted Facebook users who posted their locations. They committed more than 50 break-ins while homeowners were away, and police recovered more than $100,000 worth of property when the suspects were caught.

And one more from a recent survey from British Insurance firm, Legal and General:

“Sophisticated digital criminals are now creating networks of fake profiles to engineer sets of mutual friends, to target individuals and their homes.

There’s great evidence online about how criminals are targeting people and their stuff, and it’s pretty easy to keep you, your family and your stuff safe.

So, here are two of my key things to remember when using social media.

Personal social media should be “look what we just did!” instead of “look what we’re going to do!”


Make sure you know who your “Friends” are!

Let me say it another way. Posting information online should be done in such a way that people don’t know when you will be away from your home, or even where you live.  Posting pictures of things that already happened is usually fine, because it already happened and you were already away.  And when you post things, make sure your Friends are really your friends.  And, it’s probably just best to not post pictures of large piles of cash.

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