beach“Leaving for vacation. Can’t wait!” “Going out to dinner with the hubby.” These posts on Facebook or Twitter might seem fairly innocuous but they could be compromising your home’s security.

Home Security Monitoring Versus Alarm Monitoring

Home security monitoring and alarm monitoring go hand in hand. Without both, the safety of your home can be compromised. The home security system sets off the actual alarm in the event of a burglary. From there it needs to be sent to a monitoring station to alert the police and send someone out.

These days, smartphones make for more advanced monitoring options. Having a smartphone can allow you to arm or disarm the security system from the phone. It can even enable you to lock doors, turn down the thermostat and turn off lights when you’re not home. You can also opt to have live video feeds sent to your phone.

Smartphones: Home Security Monitoring Risk?

Unfortunately, not everything that your smartphone does is helping you. Think hard about your average day, month and week. Do you have a routine? Do you frequently post updates as you go through your day- grabbing your morning coffee, dropping the kids off at daycare, starting work, a lunch meeting at your favorite restaurant, evening out with your significant other or grabbing a post-work beer? Do you allow the geotagging feature to post where you are as you go through the day?

The answer to these questions, or at least some of them, is probably yes. Routines help us feel safe and secure. And when we post evidence of those routines online, through status updates, photos, or geotagging our various locations, we’re giving out information without thinking about it – to the whole world.

While you may not be worried about your actual friends, too many people don’t know all of the individuals their posts, status updates, pictures and videos reach.

Protecting Your Privacy on Social Media

When you upload a picture from your phone, you’re including the latitude and longitude of your destination, letting people know exactly where you are. While some sites, like Facebook, remove this information, other sites leave it. Someone you’ve never met in person, but interact with online, can easily use this information to find your home. All a potential threat has to do is wait for the breadcrumbs – statuses stating that you’re stuck in traffic, staying late at the office, watching the game with the guys, clubbing with the girls or going on vacation. Next thing you know, you’re like the New Hampshire residents who had $100,000 worth of merchandise stolen from their home.

Fortunately, to protect your privacy and secure your home, you can:

  • Only friend people you’ve met
  • Post pictures when you get home from vacation
  • Keep status updates and pictures private
  • Only share photos with people you’ve met in person
  • Turn the location services on your smartphone’s camera off
  • Double-check your privacy settings on social media sites

Think twice the next time you post, “I love Italian food!” and geotag your location. Maybe it’s harmless. But it’s equally likely that someone could use that information to hurt you.​

Todd Bedford
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