Police captured a burglary ring in Nashua, New Hampshire, that targeted people who checked into places on Facebook. The ring used the information to learn that homeowners weren’t home. The police caught them after they broke into 50 homes.
Earlier this year, Confused.com, a UK based price comparison service who prices insurance policies, amongst other things, predicted the new wave in social media could eventually lead to big hikes in home insurance premiums. Gareth Kloet, head of home insurance at Confused.com said: “What’s happened in the US could be the start of a worrying trend and if insurance providers see it as a potential risk, you can bet your home contents on the fact they’ll start pricing for it.
Confused.com is warning people who use social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook that they could eventually face hikes in their home insurance premiums.
“Something like ‘Places’ on Facebook broadcasts people’s locations on a platform which has 500 million users – you don’t need to be an insurance provider to see the risk that poses. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see rises of up to 10% for social media users in the future.”
“Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their information gathering even using Google Earth and Street View to plan their burglaries with military precision. Insurance providers are starting to take this into account when they are assessing claims and we may in future see insurers declining claims if they believe the customer was negligent.
“We would always recommend that our customers have adequate security and insurance in place to protect them should the worst happen, however they need to be aware that home security doesn’t just mean physical locks.”
Confused.com’s top three tips to reduce the risk of using social networks and therefore the risk on homes are:
1. Never post your home address or other personal information such as your home phone number on social networking sites;
2. Don’t follow people you don’t know on social networks and use block others from seeing your profile if you don’t know them;
3. Turn off location-based services on Twitter and Facebook unless you absolutely need to use them – you will need to go in to your ‘settings’ or account to do this.