I’m frequently surprised at the home security breaches and risky behavior I observe online. And, no, I’m not talking about teenagers who overshare in an attempt to hookup with a guy or a girl. I’m not even talking about those popular check-in apps which advertise that you are currently away from home enjoying a good meal, movie or shopping for a few hours. No, I’m talking about adults who should know better, but appear to be oblivious to their dangerous internet habits and how they may be putting beloved households at risk.
Let’s examine a couple of these bad habits, shall we?
I love to travel and so I subscribe to a number of popular travel forums. Daily, I find people broadcasting information which not only has the potential to place them in physical danger, but that is also of enormous home security concern. I want to scream each time I see someone publicly sharing their travel dates, where they’ll be staying and, in some cases, even posting private telephone numbers for people who want to hang out and share a meal with them while they’re in town. Of course, such messages are intended to be used by fellow forum members, most of whom are people who’ve never met in person, but whom the poster may feel a kinship toward because they’ve had so many online interactions.
Newsflash: Burglars, rapists, con artists and criminals of every ilk imaginable, use the web. And, guess what? They interact with people on forums and through social media!
As far as the home security risks, all a resourceful thief need do is login to one of these sites, jot down departure and arrival times and check his schedule for the days and times when he’s available to rob a homeowner!!!
In fact, something similar just happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma where a man was conned by a woman he met on Craigslist and arranged a date with. Of course, the woman never showed up for the date, but thanks to him sharing his information with her online, when he returned home from being stood up, his belongings were gone.
One of the more resourceful ways I’ve found internet communities working revolve around neighborhood groups formed there. Using social media sites, such as Facebook or Google Plus, which are dedicated to certain communities, neighbors are able to meet online, share useful information, advertise lost pets and discuss news that often doesn’t even make it into local newspapers.
While this is a great way to use the internet, I’ve observed a number of people making enormous home security mistakes while sharing. First, a number of those who organize these groups do not appear to implement a vetting process to assure that members are who they say they are or that they even live in the community. Second, many of the groups I’ve observed are not using private settings, which means that anyone can log in and read about the group, its members and see everything that is shared. And speaking of what is shared, I’ve observed a number of people posting their street addresses, home telephone numbers and even mentioning work and travel schedules. Huge home security risk…HUGE!
These are just a couple of the home security risks I’ve seen people take online recently. In both of these instances, it seems that people have a false sense of security due to the community aspect that is often fostered in such groups. However, it bears repeating that criminals are everywhere. The idea that they’re only lurking in dark alleyways and hiding in the shadows is simply not true. Thieves and predators of every leaning are online and looking for people who are willing to trust them or at least trust online communities enough to let their guards down. Please listen to these words and analyze your own internet habits now to make certain you aren’t laying the groundwork for a future home security nightmare.