NEWS

"Vacation" Posts Make Victims Target for Burglary

By Matthew Harwood

Social media aficionados may want to rethink how much information they divulge regarding their whereabouts during the summer vacation season, according to the Associated Press.

Most people wouldn't leave a recording on a home answering machine telling callers they're on vacation for a week, and most people wouldn't let mail or newspapers pile up while they were away. But users of social media think nothing of posting real-time vacation photos on Facebook showing themselves on beaches hundreds of miles from home, or sending out automatic e-mail messages that say, "I'm out of the country for a week."

"I'm amazed at how many people get on there and say they're going on vacation," said Lee Struble, head of security at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y.

Struble, 53, is a member of Facebook with more than 200 friends, many of them classmates from high school and college who recently reconnected through the site. "Some of these people you haven't seen in 20 or 30 years," said Struble. "But they know where you live or can find out pretty easily, they can do a Google Maps search and can get directions to your house, and you're telling them that you're going to be gone."

Israel and Noell Hyman believe they found this out the hard way. They posted real-time Twitter updates of their vacation to Kansas City. During their trip, their home in Mesa, Arizona, was burglarized. Israel believes his Tweets gave the burglars the leg up. 

"I forgot that there's an inherent danger in putting yourself out there," he told the AP.

Photo by Felipe_Skroski/Flickr

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