People who post online could open the door to thieves, who may check status updates to see if a house is empty. Millions of users post details about their home, as well as holiday plans, acting as an invitation to the burglars, according to insurers Legal & General.
The Digital Criminal report, which polled 2,000 social network users, found nearly two fifths had posted details of their holiday plans, with nearly two thirds of 16-24 year-olds doing so.
Mr Fraser, a reformed thief, said: “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that burglars are using social networks to identify likely targets. They gain confidence by learning more about them, what they are likely to own and when they are likely to be out of the house.” “I call it ‘internet shopping for burglars’. It is incredibly easy to use social networking sites to target people, and then scope out more information on their actual home using other internet sites like Google Street View, all from the comfort of the sofa.”
Graham Cluley, from web security firm Sophos, said it was “staggering” what information people were putting online.
“Our research shows that 41 per cent of people are divulging personal and private information to complete strangers on Facebook, such as their date of birth, where they worked, where they lived and what they were doing,” he said. People are boasting about how they are having a fantastic time on a beach in Mexico on a webpage that has their home address.
“Criminals who put together the jigsaw can use it for identity theft or burglary. It is just as dangerous as leaving your windows or doors open at home.”
The report also found that almost half were unconcerned about social networking security. In an experiment, 100 friend requests were issued to random stranger. Nine out of 10 Twitter users accepted the stranger as a friend, with more than one in 10 Facebook users.
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