If you’re off on your summer holidays soon, you’ll probably be looking forward to sharing your experiences with friends and family back home. It’s second nature for us these days to snap streams of sunny selfies and post them on our favourite social media platforms for all to see. But here’s a stark warning on a home security note: your holiday sagas, or more to the point, the fact that you are away and your property is empty, could well be reaching the wrong news feeds.

Home securityThe worrying fact is that burglars regularly make use of social media to plan their targets. As a result, police are making a campaign out of warning holidaymakers against revealing their holiday plans to an online audience.

Research reveals that social media channels are flooded with around 50,000 holiday related posts on a daily basis, and that around 80 per cent of burglars use social media to plan their next target. One in twelve holidaymakers are broken into following posts on social media documenting their travels.

So, how to protect your property whilst you are away? Follow these home security tips to prevent burglars using social media to work out when your home is unoccupied.

1.     Keep quiet!

This is the easiest way to protect your home whilst it is empty – simply don’t announce your holiday on social media! Don’t talk about it in the lead-up, or post photos whilst you are there. Leave your holiday snaps for sharing when you get back and your home is safely occupied.

Also avoid ‘checking in’ via your social channels when you arrive at your accommodation, and leave your Trip Advisor reviews till you get home too, as these show the date of posting and the location.

2.     Tell others to keep quiet too!

It’s all very well you keeping quiet about your vacation, but it’s no good if your nearest and dearest take to social media to wish you happy holidays. Make it clear to everyone that you don’t wish to disclose your whereabouts, perhaps suggesting that they may like to take the same approach themselves when they go away.

If you’re spending your holiday with friends or family, make sure they know not to tag you in any photos they post, as this is just as revealing as you posting photos yourself. If you feel you cannot trust your holiday companions in this respect, the best thing to do is go to your settings and switch off the ability for people to tag you.

3.     Adjust your privacy settings

Are you aware of who can read your posts? If you haven’t tightened your security settings, it could be that absolutely anyone with access to the internet could be having a good nose through your conversations and photos.

You choose your connections on social media, so you should choose who gets to see your posts. So before you go on holiday, head over to your privacy settings on all the platforms you use, and make sure you are not sharing personal information with the wrong people by having your settings on public.

Here are the privacy settings links you need for the main platforms:

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242

Instagram

https://help.instagram.com/196883487377501

Twitter

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Your-Twitter-Account-Private

Also be sure to avoid publishing too much personal information about where you live, your date of birth and where you like to spend time and when. The fewer details you share, the less likely you are to become a target.

Be careful with your home insurance

You should be aware that sharing details of your holiday online could invalidate your home insurance policy and any claim you might need to make should your property be targeted whilst you are on holiday.

Most insurance policies will require holders to take reasonable care in keeping their property safe and secure. They may well consider a social media post revealing that the property is empty as being in breach of this requirement.

And finally… secure your home before you leave

It’s important to take steps to properly secure your home before you leave for your holiday, so follow these home security tips:

  • Check your alarm system is working properly and that you are up to date on your servicing.
  • Ensure any installed security lighting is in good working order. If you don’t have it, seriously consider having some fitted. A light that comes on automatically when motion is detected is a fantastic deterrent against would-be intruders.
  • Check your CCTV is running well and that you have sufficient capacity to store footage. Again, if you don’t already have it installed, it is well worth considering for both the deterrent benefit, and the valuable footage that you can use in the event of needing to make a claim.
  • Install timer lights to come on as it gets dark to give the impression of someone being home. Smart home security systems will allow you to control things like lighting and even closing curtains or blinds remotely from your smartphone.
  • Make sure your locks are functioning properly. Take all keys out of internal locks and stash them away in a safe or locked cupboard. The same goes for your car keys if you’re not taking your vehicle with you. Never, ever leave keys for anything in view around the house.
  • Secure any valuables in your safe or somewhere else they can’t be accessed. This includes tech, jewellery, cash and any paperwork that could be used to steal your identity.
  • Ensure bushes and hedges are nicely trimmed and the lawn mown to make it look like your property is lived in.
  • Cancel any deliveries so there is nothing left outside to draw attention to the fact you are away.
  • Ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property, ensuring there is no post left hanging out of the letterbox and that everything is as it should be. If someone can go in every few days to pick the post up off the mat and check around then all the better.

Home Security Advice from Barry Bros Security

Here at Barry Bros Security we have the expertise and the technology you need to protect your property. Whether you are off on holiday or generally need to boost the security of your home, we are here to help. Give us a call or drop into our London showroom for the specialist advice you need.