We’ve all done it. You’ve been working hard for months on end and are getting increasingly more excited about your upcoming holiday; so excited, in fact, that you cannot help but shout about it from the (social media) rooftops! And why not? Facebook, Twitter and the like are not just there for sharing cat videos, crazy news stories and political opinions – they’re there to share events that you’re excited about (and for showing off, let’s face it…)

Well, unfortunately there is in fact a very good reason to think twice before announcing things like holidays and breaks away on social media: burglars. Unless you’re very careful about whom you allow access to your pages and are sufficiently tech-savvy to make sure your security settings mean that only your close friends have access to your most sensitive information and posts, you could be in danger of unwittingly indicating to unscrupulous individuals exactly when and where you’re going to be (or not going to be i.e. at home). This isn’t identity theft, this is actual property theft.

Police are now warning internet users that If you ‘advertise’ time away from home on social media (even just a night out or a weekend break), then you’re inviting burglars to break-in. A social media survey by police in the US last summer found that more than 50% of people questioned had posted status updates or photographs of themselves out of their house. More worryingly, more than 50% of people also said that they did not know everyone who had access to their profile.

Over a third of those surveyed said that they had been a victim of burglary in the past; however, nearly 20% of these people didn’t make the connection and said they would still be likely to post on social media about when they are going away in the future.

This may seem daft to you, but we have no reason to think that people’s attitudes will differ here in the UK (we certainly have similar problems when it comes to home security and burglaries), so our advice is to never be too complacent when it comes to what you post on line, especially when it comes to addresses, dates, schedules and holiday plans. Vigilance is key when it comes to online – and offline – safety…

Here are a few additional home security tips to help keep your property burglar-free:

• Always lock your doors and windows.

• Take measures to make your home appear occupied even when it’s not, using plug-in timers to turn lights on (maybe even the radio/TV) during times of darkness

• Keep the rear of your property secure, especially if you have a side passage leading to a backdoor, and ensure that side and rear gates are locked. Do not provide easy access to the rear of your property.

• Use of dusk to dawn lighting, particularly to the rear of the property, will help to deter burglars. There are plenty of solar powered options for this now which help with security and make your garden/yard look great

• Don’t be tempted to leave keys in locks, especially when there is glass in the door. Keep them out of sight.

• Use an intruder alarm (speak to us about this today if you don’t have one. We have a variety of solutions for all budgets and requirements)

• Do not leave tools and ladders lying about and keep your shed and garage secure.

• Make sure your items are traceable by post-coding your property with your house number using a UV pen.