Social media websites may make users target for burglary

Twitter posts about location can put users at risk

Social media enthusiasts may want to think twice before posting that update - it could cost them.

A new website by Dutch company ForTheHack streams Twitter posts in which users reveal that they are not home. The website, titled Please Rob Me, refers to updates as "opportunities" and includes information like username, time posted and photo that are usually available on Twitter.

"The danger is publicly telling people where you are," the website said. "This is because it leaves one place you're definitely not... home. So here we are; on one end we're leaving lights on when we're going on a holiday, and on the other we're telling everybody on the internet we're not home."

Please Rob Me's goal is to raise awareness, not have people burglarized, according to the website. It pointed to other services like FourSquare, Brightkite and Google Buzz that, like Twitter, host updates that often indicate a consumer's exact location and how long they will be there.

Most home insurance policies protect against burglary, which costs an average of $1,800, according to the Insurance Information Institute. There are about 2.15 million break-ins a year, with increases during the vacation months of July and August.ADNFCR-2378-ID-19629031-ADNFCR

Posted: February 22, 2010

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