Thieves turning to social networking sites for information on potential targets

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A leading U.K. home insurance agency has released a survey showing that thieves are turning to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to get information on houses to rob, and therefore risking an eventual rise in home insurance rates.

A leading U.K. home insurance agency has released a survey showing that thieves are turning to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to get information on houses to rob, and therefore risking an eventual rise in home insurance rates.

The survey, which asked 2,092 social media users about their online habits, found that 38 percent of respondents said that they would potentially expose their homes to thefts by posting details about their time away from home when on vacation, while 33 percent regularly posted weekend plans.

Additionally, children living at home with their parents were also more apt to give away travel information, with 64 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds surveyed said they shared holiday plans online.

Keeping personal information away from potential strangers was also not seen as much of a concern for those surveyed, with 47 percent stating that they would accept friend or follower requests based only on the inquirer having a pleasant picture.

Seventeen percent also said that they had their home addresses posted on their site, opening them up to thieves with access to web mapping services who can then case the home out without having to go there in person.

Weeks after the insurance report on social media safety was released, Facebook announced that it had made a number of changes to its security measures after a yearlong review by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Among the issues addressed by the social networking website were clarifications relating to how the site's privacy policies and controls were relayed to its users so they could make more informed decisions regarding their privacy.

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Posted: August 31, 2009

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