Location-based services can give criminals an edge

2019-08-21 06:01

OVERSHARING, in any form, can compromise your personal and home security, especially if it has to do with your location, says Charnel Hattingh, National Marketing and Communications Manager at Fidelity ADT.

The fact that criminals can use social media to track people’s locations and find information they can use to their advantage is nothing new.

“The internet and social media is a favoured playground of criminals and to believe otherwise is naive.

“This is why it is so important for users to keep their personal routines and plans private.

“The right type of information landing in the wrong hands can have dire consequences,” she says.

“Think about making a loud pronouncement at work, in the lift or at the water cooler, that you are going away on holiday, leaving your home unoccupied for two weeks.

“Then, you back this up with an Instagram post, a tweet and a Facebook post,” Hattingh says.

“Without you realising it your dream holiday could turn into a nightmare if someone takes advantage of knowing you are not at home.”

One of the most dangerous features on social media is location-based services, and many people do not realise why, Hattingh adds.

“By using location-based services on your social media platforms, you are fully exposing your whereabouts, with accuracy.

“Posts are usually in real-time too, which means if you are posting a location three to four times a day, someone could be tracking this and determining your regular routines.

“This could be a stalker or other criminals who can now determine when your home is unoccupied and easy to break into.”

Some people may say there is no danger of anyone in their social media circles taking advantage of them not being home.

“We would all like to believe this. But, if you are honest with yourself you don’t really know everyone on your social media platforms that well,” Hattingh says.

The golden rule for using social media, she encourages, is to only interact with people you know, but even then the only people who should know about your holiday plans and locations are:

• Your immediate family.

• Your neighbour (if you have a good relationship).

• Your neighbourhood watch.

• Your security company.

“Avoid location-based services. Your social life will not fall apart if you do, and you will actually have more peace of mind knowing your whereabouts are not out there for anyone to use and abuse,” Hattingh concludes.

— Supplied.

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