Social Media: Don’t Be a Target While You’re on Vacation

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You’ve been planning this trip for months, saving every dollar, going to the gym at least three times a week… but the time has finally come and you’re ready to hit the beach! You’re overwhelmed with the excitement of escaping the office and getting away with your significant other. The plane is now boarding and by dinner time, you’ll have a rum beverage in hand and your toes in the sand. Your first instinct upon arrival is to take a picture of paradise and post it on Facebook for all of your jealous friends and co-workers to see. But, if you’re not careful, you may be in for a rude awakening when you get home.

In January of this year, I went on a trip just like the one described above. It was actually a work trip to The Bahamas (I know, tough gig right?!) and both my partner and I were sent on a beautiful week away in the dead of winter. Upon arrival, I was eager to post a ton of photos to Facebook but my very cautious spouse encouraged me to hold off. Her reasoning seemed a little overprotective at the time – “let’s not tell the world that our house is empty for the next week”. Hmm… good call.

If you haven’t already, consider watching “The Bling Ring” – a movie based on a group of teenagers who used the web to find out where celebrities live and where those celebrities were at any given time. Not home? Perfect time for a little break and enter! Not to say I’m a celebrity and that I have rooms full of luxurious items to be stolen, but the idea of strangers coming in to my home and taking my personal belongings – what a terrible feeling.

Now, I’m not trying to be a downer on your upcoming getaway. But, I do suggest you avoid being like these people (ahem… these people are my friends who just left for vacation this morning). Perhaps I should have written this earlier…

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Think I’m overreacting? A survey of former burglars revealed that over 75% of those surveyed believe that thieves are using social media to determine easy targets*. To help you avoid becoming one of those targets, here are a few tips!

Do’s and Don’t of Posting to Facebook While on Vacation

  • hold off on posting about your vacation until you’ve returned
  • don’t tag people you are travelling with until everyone has returned (you could tip off people following them on social media)
  • don’t assume your privacy settings are fool-proof and only friends will see your posts
  • don’t pre-post (ie: leaving for vacation tomorrow, back in a week!)
  • if you really need to share pictures with people back home, consider using email instead of publicly posting on social media

Source: About.com Internet / Network Security – “What Not to Post on Facebook While You’re on Vacation”
Source*: SafeWise – “Update Your Status to Safe: Don’t Become a Target Because of Social Media”

Do you play it safe while you’re away? Could you resist posting your pics until you’re home or do you hope for the best and rely on privacy settings?

6 thoughts on “Social Media: Don’t Be a Target While You’re on Vacation

    • You’re welcome! I go away often for business and don’t always think twice about posting about my travels. But… all it takes is one post while you’re gone for one night!

  1. This is a fantastic reminder for everyone to share! Good friends of ours recently had their house broken into and they are weekend cottagers – often posting on Facebook when they are there, for how long and pictures of the family etc. We forget how accessible that information can be 😦

    • That’s unfortunate! I think most people assume “it’ll never happen to me”. You just never know where a post on Facebook could potentially end up…

  2. I’ve heard of friends that are cautious not to post on vacation and also when husbands or when the other half is away so that it’s not a tip off that one is alone at home. It makes good safety sense and to remind just how important privacy can be. Vacation pictures? Away from home and tweeting?… I now have more will power to wait and post once I get home.

    • I honestly never thought about the posts while your spouse is away! Good point – I’ll definitely keep this in mind next time.

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