Facebook, Twitter May Lead To Burglary

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A recent study titled "The Digital Criminal Report" conducted by Legal And General, a U.K.-based financial services consulting firm, found that nearly four out of 10 social networking users have no reservations about letting friends and followers know that they will be away from their home for a given amount of time. The firm partnered with a reformed burglar to claim that thieves are using social networking to pick victims.

The survey polled over 2,000 social media users and found that 38 percent of the respondents posted vacation plans to Facebook or Twitter. Additionally, 33 percent of the people polled had let their social networks know that they were away from home for the weekend.

As part of the Digital Criminal Report, social media practitioners in the U.K. were sent a friend or follow request from a stranger on Facebook and Twitter. The study found that out of 100 sent requests, 13 were accepted on Facebook and 92 on Twitter.

That high acceptance rate from strangers, combined with social media practitioner feelings about security on the platforms makes for some frightening results.

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According to the survey, 48 percent of the responders had no worries about security or privacy on social networks, and 70 percent of users think social networks are the right place to show off their new purchases.

Those findings, combined with the fact that nine out of 10 survey takers have posted a home address and phone number can start to take on sinister implications once information about an individual's whereabouts is posted.

Showing off how great a new stereo system or HD television is and then advertising that you'll be out of town for three days in a different country is, essentially, an invitation for burglars with nefarious intentions to break into a home.

Of course, taking basic precautions, such as utilizing privacy settings and only accepting Facebook friend requests from people you know and trust can go a long way to defeating this problem. Not letting acquaintances and the people you met on vacation know that you're leaving the key to the backdoor under the welcome mat while on holiday in the Caribbean is also a pretty good step to avoid being burgled.