Holiday security tips: Social media

Keeping mum over holiday plans – and other top security tips

For most of us, our annual summer holiday is the one time of year when we can kick back, relax and forget about things for a while.

Taking pictures and videos of our precious holiday moments is part and parcel of being away. It’s an opportunity to preserve memories of our experiences, many of which we’ll share with friends and family on social media.

A recent survey by Together Mutual Insurance found that 29% of us use a location check-in feature on social media at a UK airport before we go away, while 58% of us share our holiday photos online.

“Sadly, while we’re sharing our joy of being at the airport, sunbathing by the pool, or sipping cocktails in a beach bar, opportunistic thieves could be scouring your Facebook or Instagram, taking note of the fact that you’re away from home and viewing it as an opportunity to strike,”explains Jon Craven, CEO of Together Mutual Insurance.

Thankfully, there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of burglary – meaning you can spend less time worrying and more time relaxing…

Check your privacy settings

There’s no reason to stop sharing your holiday snaps on social media, but you can alter your privacy settings, so that only your friends can view your posts. Also, avoid tagging other people into your pics because you can’t control their privacy settings, meaning strangers could see potentially see what you’ve posted.

Turn off location sharing

You might think it’s fun to let the world know you’re checking-in to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but it also gives would-be burglars the heads-up that your home is empty at that very minute. Stay on the safe side by turning off the location-sharing and GPS features on your smartphone or tablet.

Keep teenagers informed

If you’ve got teenagers who like to post regularly on social media, remember to give them a quick heads-up on the points above before you go away. It’s all very well you taking precautions, but if your son or daughter tags the whole family in a holiday snap and hasn’t changed his or her privacy settings you’ll be back at square one, giving thieves an opportunity to strike!

Google your home

Google Maps gives us an amazing opportunity to explore the world, but sadly the Google Street View function also gives thieves the opportunity to check out your property before they attempt a break in. Think like a burglar and take a look at the street view of your own property. Is your home an easy target? Are doors and windows easily opened? Can upstairs windows be accessed via a garden ladder, bin or tree branch? Spot the security failings before a would-be burglar does, and fix them.

Make your home look lived in

It’s definitely worth making your home look occupied while you’re away to deter burglars. If you can, keep a car parked in the drive, ask a neighbour or friend to take out your bins, and cancel any regular deliveries to your home.

Security lights are also a great deterrent, and are now easier than ever to operate with smart home security systems, which allow you to control lights remotely from your smartphone.

Ensure your insured

Our survey found that 46% of people haven’t considered whether or not their insurer would pay out if they posted on social media that they were on holiday and their home was burgled.

Some insurers refuse to pay out because the policy wording states that the policyholder must take ‘reasonable care’ in securing their home and possessions while they’re away. Broadcasting you are on holiday on social media could be viewed as a reckless act.

If in doubt, avoid making your whereabouts public on social media, and save posting your holiday snaps until you’re safely back home.