When it comes to computers and cybercrime, most people think about identity theft, viruses and malware, and firewall hacking. However, some criminals in New Hampshire have upped the ante and are using Facebook to break into homes.
A group of burglars in Nashua, New Hampshire have been using Facebook to target victims and steal property from their homes. By using a person’s status updates on Facebook, they are able to piece together clues as to when the unsuspecting Facebookers are out of their homes and then make their strike.
The method so far has allowed them to steal between $100,000 - $200,000 worth of personal property.
This further illustrates the need to monitor what you say online and who you say it to. I understand that people get excited about vacations and will post status updates such as “1 week until Guam!” or “At the Cape this weekend.” I am even guilty of posting about how jam packed my day is (“work 9-5, gym, rehearsal until 11, then SLEEP.”) Yet no matter how innocent these updates sound, they can easily indicate where you are and for how long.
A while back, I posted an article about protecting your “social” security and included a link to a PCWorld article on how to “Test Your Facebook Privacy Settings.” The article mentions a scan that will show vulnerabilities within your profile.
A simpler way to check your settings is to:
1) Log onto your Facebook account.
2) Click on the “Account Tab” to the far right.
3) Click on “Privacy Settings.”
You can customize your profile’s options so that only people in your network can see your updates. Furthermore, you can narrow the field so that only people who are your friends/family can see your status updates. That way a stranger scanning the web won’t be able to know when you are and aren’t at home.
In my opinion, the two items that should be omitted from your profile regardless of your privacy settings are:
1) Your Phone Number (your friends should know it, or they can message you for your digits)
2) Your Home Address (stalk much?)
Most Importantly – Watch what you say on the web! You need to be responsible for what information you let out into the world. Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there.