Geotagging lets your friends know exactly where that photo of you with the breathtaking castle in the background was taken. While it’s a fun way to bond with others who have been to the same locations, geotagging can have a detrimental effect on the safety and security of your home.
An alarm system in California should help residents keep their home and family safe from burglars, but it’s best to learn how you could be vulnerable from something as simple as sharing status messages with friends online.
Alarm companies in California are warning their clients about the dangers of geotagging and the new threat of criminals cybercasing homes through the Internet. Many law-abiding citizens don’t understand how easy it is for criminals to case a home from status messages and pictures.
In 2010, three men were arrested after they burglarized almost 20 homes in New Hampshire. They netted between $100,000 and $200,000 in property by checking status messages online and hitting the property of people who said they would be away from home.
Since these types of cases are being reported with more frequency, most Facebook and social media users are becoming aware of this new way thieves are trying to break into their homes. Inside most smartphones and digital cameras, there are settings that will embed data-like GPS coordinates into a photograph. Thieves purchase software programs to read that data and find out where you took that photo.
Some social media sites, like Foursquare, advertise a consumer’s current location and give him or her deals and coupons for the business they are visiting. It might not be worth it, however. When businesses publicize your location to advertise, they are broadcasting your whereabouts to social media sites, which can be a huge problem.
This allows criminals to not only narrow down your location but also learn your activity patterns, which will help them break into your home. As the world becomes more technologically savvy, so do criminals. You don’t have to stop being social on social media, but it pays to be more cautious.
To help protect against cybercasing, disable the geotagging setting on your cameras. Each type of phone has the settings or options to turn off geotagging. You can switch it off if you’re taking local pictures and switch it back on for vacation photos that you’ll show when you get back. In addition to disabling the geotagging feature on photos, avoid advertising your vacation online before you leave or while you’re away from your home.
Social media sites have settings for geotagging too. To be safe, remove yourself from these options. This is helpful, especially if you’re not exactly sure how they work.
Alarm companies in California want their customers to remain safe. An alarm system is the first step in personal and home security. Being aware of potential trouble when you’re out in the streets and even online is essential too.