Gareth Kloet, head of home insurance at Confused.com, the price comparison site, has warned that insurance companies may start increasing premiums for Facebook and Twitter users after a burglary ring in Nashua, New Hampshire in the US targeted people who used the geolocation features of Facebook, which alerted the criminals that their homes were empty.
Whilst Facebook have claimed that only one of the homes involved had any link, for those who check in using the Places facility, it certainly does pose something of a risk and Mr Kloet suggests that it would not be surprising to see ‘rises of up to 10% for social media users in the future.’
Many of us are guilty of giving potential felons an awful lot of personal information about our whereabouts in our status updates and checkins, coupled with images of the various rooms in our homes and their contents from our existing photo albums.
Just as it is wise not to post your address and telephone number on any sites, it is also a good idea to switch off location-based services on Twitter and Facebook – Settings > General > Location Services – especially if you have children in the house as this post on internet safety for kids shows.
Some insurance companies do offer reduced premiums to properties who have a professionally installed and industry approved security system, a factor which is also likely to deter many potential burglars.