Using social media out of town could make your home target for thieves


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s not just the holiday season. It is also the break-in season according to law enforcement.

The month of December sees a high rate of burglaries year after year, and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says many times people using social media are making themselves a target for thieves.

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So many of us have done it: posting on Facebook or Twitter that we’re excited to leave town soon, but law enforcement says putting up a simple post can grab the attention of crooks looking to target travelers.

“One of the major flaws they can find when they are traveling is posting that in social media; letting people know that you are not at home,” New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer said. “That can let people know that you are not there, therefore B&Es tend to go up.”

Anyone with a social media page can understand just how easily you can post without thinking about the consequences.

“They’re just posting things spontaneously,” Sharema Williams of Wilmington said. “You know, they’re excited about being out of town and having fun. They are just not paying attention and keeping in mind that not only are you posting for your family, but you are also posting for everyone else to.”

Law enforcement says it is not just what you write on Facebook, but what you post, like pictures, that can give away that you are not in town making you the target.”

“Do it after you’re back,” Sgt. Brewer said. “You can share the same memories, share the pictures, but if you’re posting in real time that you are not in home that is telling thousands of people that you are not at home.”

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office even has a program to help out vacationers. You can call the office to let them know you’ll be out of town, and a deputy will come by daily to check your home.

So before you post your newest vacation pics, take a second to think who may be checking them out as a way to case your house.

“I think Facebook sometimes gets a bit too personal, that even though you just have friends, other people can sometimes see those post or they can sometimes relay that to other people, and it is just not a great idea,” Caree Varughese of Wilmington said.

Law enforcement also suggests not to use the location feature when posting on Facebook. This lets anyone reading your posts know where you made you were when you sent it.