Christmas snaps could lead burglars to your door warns AA

Christmas week has arrived and with thousands of people expected to take to the roads for Christmas and New Year gatherings, AA Home Insurance is reminding travellers not to broadcast their plans on social media sites and to remember that their stream of content and updates can be highly viral through their circle of friends and followers and in turn their collective networks.

This seasonal advice comes following an AA Home Insurance study conducted earlier in the year which revealed that in the region of 10% of those active on social media in Ireland have at some stage alluded to their travel plans online.  During the same study, 8% of participants also indicated that while they personally had not made the faux pas, someone else within their household had done so. 

The AA is also encouraging parents to ask their teenage children to be mindful of what they post this Christmas.  42.6% of 17 to 24 year olds who participated in the AA Home Insurance poll admitted to indiscriminately broadcasting their travel plans and the AA fears this figures be considerably higher among the more naive teenage demographic.

The AA is also advising social media users around the country to think twice before posting photos or videos which might give a hint as to their home address.  “There are a lot of images of people’s Christmas trees and outdoor Christmas lights going up on the likes of Facebook at the moment.” Comments John Farrell, Director of AA Insurance.  “It’s wonderful to spread the Christmas cheer but just be careful, if you haven’t adjusted your security settings,  you could be sharing your house number, house name, vehicle registration and even street sign with people you simply don’t know.”  AA Home Insurance is also appealing to those using check-in style sites such as ‘Foursquare’ and ‘Facebook Places’ not to list their home as a location.

AA Home Insurance equally warns that it’s not uncommon for “digital criminals” to build up a profile of potential targets over time.  “A recent survey of convicted burglars in the UK suggests that burglaries these days are less and less opportunistic.  Burglars will study your daily routine and analyse any available data on you so it’s good practice to think twice before you publish something about yourself on the internet.” Says Farrell. 

Another piece of “social security” advice AA Home Insurance is offering Smartphone users is to be scrupulous in the Apps they download.  “Certain third party Apps these days will look for a lot of personal data before they allow you to fully download them.  If something doesn’t quite ring through it’s probably best to steer clear.” Says Farrell.  As a general rule of thumb, its best to stick to Apps developed in countries where good regulatory practices are in place.”

Additional security advice for social media users this Christmas:

  • Ask your teenage children not to post or tweet about any family holiday plans.
  • Remove wall postings from friends that may allude to your travel plans.
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know this Christmas.
  • Review your security setting, to restrict access to your personal profile information.
  • Use private DM or inbox facilities to communicate private messages this Christmas.
  • Don’t tweet or post about your Christmas gifts
  • Wait until after Christmas to post your holiday photos/videos

Some other interesting advice on the ’10 Most Common Christmas Crimes’ can be located at: www.criminaljusticedegreesguide.com/features/the-10-most-common-holiday-crimes.html

Ends

Notes to the editor;

Fig. 1 Whether or not respondents have ever publicized on a social media site that they are going on holidays/will be away from their home 

(A)     ALL RESPONDENTS (14,116 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 10.0%
Yes, my partner has done so 3.7%
Yes, my child/children have done so 3.4%
Yes, my house mate has done so 0.9%
No, I/we have never done so 85.0%

(B) MALE RESPONDENTS (8,045 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 7.3%
Yes, my partner has done so 4.7%
Yes, my child/children have done so 3.3%
Yes, my house mate has done so 0.8%
No, I/we have never done so 87.1%

(C) FEMALE RESPONDENTS (5,881 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 13.9%
Yes, my partner has done so 2.3%
Yes, my child/children have done so 3.6%
Yes, my house mate has done so 1.2%
No, I/we have never done so 81.9%

(D) RESPONDENTS AGED 17 – 24 YEARS (292 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 42.6%
Yes, my partner has done so 10.3%
Yes, my child/children have done so 1.0%
Yes, my house mate has done so 7.6%
No, I/we have never done so 53.3%

(E) RESPONDENTS AGED 25 TO 35 YEARS (2,972 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 25.9%
Yes, my partner has done so 9.3%
Yes, my child/children have done so 0.6%
Yes, my house mate has done so 3.2%
No, I/we have never done so 68.0%

(F) RESPONDENTS AGED 36 TO 45 YEARS (3,717 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 8.1%
Yes, my partner has done so 3.7%
Yes, my child/children have done so 2.3%
Yes, my house mate has done so 0.4%
No, I/we have never done so 87.7%

(G) RESPONDENTS AGED 46 TO 55 YEARS (3,563 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 3.9%
Yes, my partner has done so 1.4%
Yes, my child/children have done so 7.4%
Yes, my house mate has done so 0.0%
No, I/we have never done so 89.2%

(H) RESPONDENTS AGED 56 TO 65 YEARS (2,241 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 2.4%
Yes, my partner has done so 0.8%
Yes, my child/children have done so 3.8%
Yes, my house mate has done so 0.0%
No, I/we have never done so 94.2%

(I)   RESPONDENTS AGED 65 YEARS PLUS (1,107 responses)

Yes, I have done so myself 1.8%
Yes, my partner has done so 0.7%
Yes, my child/children have done so 1.6%
Yes, my house mate has done so 0.1%
No, I/we have never done so 97.4%