It’s high time we thought about the information we share, and just as important, what we should not share on the limitless posting opportunities available today. With the explosion of social media (and with Facebook at around 500 million members!), folks in our business know there is a direct connection between your “public” information and home security. FrontPoint Security (the leader in wireless home security) is committed to helping you protect your family and property: a good start is thinking twice about the information you broadcast on-line.
Sure, we all want to share photos and travel plans, but there is a risk. Less than a quarter of American homes have a monitored alarm system – and of those, over 90% are completely vulnerable to a $5 pair of wire cutters: these “old school” systems depend on a home phone line that can be cut. The good news is that options exist: 100% wireless cellular monitoring, remote arm/disarm, special apps for web-enabled devices, email and text notifications, video access and motion-activated clips in real time, and even smart home controls for lights, locks, and thermostat. And these systems can be easily set up by you, the homeowner.
Here are some scary stats from the FBI: a burglary happens in the US every 15 seconds with an average loss of over $2,000, and a home with a monitored alarm system is three times more likely to be passed over than an unprotected home. So, welcome to a short primer from FrontPoint on what NOT to share with the virtual world – and a reminder that you can help protect your home and family easily and affordably, no matter how much information you post!
1) Birth Date: This is more of an identity-theft concern than a home security issue, but it’s a good place to start. With your birth date, cyber crooks can often ferret out your SSN, and even gain access to your on-line accounts – and you certainly don’t want that. Just use the birth year – it’s much safer.
2) Home Address: Lots of web sites ask for this, but it is usually not required. City and state (and/or 5 digit zip) is sufficient for most purposes. The world does not need to know where you live, especially when they know when you are not at home – and that does not even address the invitation to a potential stalker.
3) Vacation & Travel Arrangements: This should be an obvious warning, but it’s amazing how many people “advertise” their travel plans, including dates. Do your really know all the “Friends” of your “Friends” that well? Just tell the people who need to know.
4) Daily Agenda: The fact that you go to the gym every Tuesday and Thursday evening is best kept to your family and personal trainer. Sharing your routine behaviors can be the wrong kind of invitation. And remember: most burglaries happen during the day.
5) Privacy Settings: Check ‘em. Make sure you are sharing only what you want, and only with the people you select for each category of information. Certain social media platforms may change your settings or reveal more of your information without informing you.
6) Photos: This includes your children, your house, and even the pictures of you and your family posing with Mickey, or on The Great Wall – sent real time! There is a strong temptation to share photos, because today’s technology makes it so easy.
Sure, there are other things you share that deserve some consideration, but this list will get you thinking – and that is just what FrontPoint wants you to do.