From holiday check-ins to posting presents, social media has become a tool for burglars to identify targets.

We're all guilty of a little oversharing at times, but even the most innocent post can cause huge repercussions.

Thieves and burglars stalk social media profiles and use what you post online to their advantage, whether it is telling when you're out of the home, identifying expensive items, or looking at potential break-in points.

With that in mind, security experts at ADT have shared their top tips for posting safely online to keep your home safe from potential thieves.

Six tips to avoid a social media break-in:

1. Don’t give strangers an online tour of your house

Be careful not to post something that shows your property layout, as this could show possible entrances and exits. When making a post from home, try to focus images of specific things, rather than the full room.

2. Keep your plans offline 

It can be tempting to post online about a trip abroad or going to visit family and friends, but this alerts burglars of times when the property will be empty. To be safe, save posting any holiday updates until you’re back home. For extra security, you can install smart plugs to turn lamps on and off to give the impression that someone is home.

3. Avoid sharing geotags

This rule applies to adding the location of your home, but also to checking in places when you're out - this can give burglars an idea about how far you are from your property and how long they have to make a move. As an additional precaution, turn off GPS tracking on all your apps as some social media platforms might be sharing your live location. 

4. Make sure you know who you are sharing with

To minimise the risk of strangers using your posts to their advantage, make sure to set your profile setting on private, and decline friend requests from people you don’t know. Especially watch out for those empty pages that might have been created with the sole purpose of identifying targets online. 

5. Keep any gifts you receive private

With the festive season approaching it might be tempting to share with your friends all the things that your significant other treated you with this year, however,  any images or videos of gifts can give burglars an idea about your financial situation as well as it can alert them that there will be valuable goods left in the property. Try to keep any presents out of view whilst sharing your happy memories online. 

6. Consider what your post

The most common types of posts that can catch a thief’s attention are:

  • Multiple vacation stories in a row
  • Post about weekend trips or check-ins
  • Pictures from lunch or dinner dates 
  • New items posts, especially about new cars or homes

Michele Bennett, General Manager at ADT UK&I comments: “When you are going away for an exciting trip or receive gifts from loved ones, you might be tempted to show off your luck to our wider circle.

"However, it is important that we take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our homes on social media. Be cautious whilst posting on social media by following our tips, and keep your home and your family safe. 

“For a greater level of security, it is also essential to consider installing a fully integrated smart alarm system.

"Systems with add-ons such as cameras and doorbells provide an extra layer of protection which means you don’t have to worry about having an unexpected visitor, especially if you plan on going away.”