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Why You Should Stop “Checking In” to Places on Your Smart Phone

checking-inOne Tweet reads, “I’m at @NASCARHall of Fame (Charlotte, NC) http://4sq.com/1eBXrKC.”

People love “checking in.” Foursquare and other smart phone apps turn your city into a giant game, allowing you to unlock badges and compete with your friends for status. Why wouldn’t you want everyone know that you just found the hottest new place in Charlotte?

Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to “checking in.” You are telling the world that you’re not home. You’re telling the world how far from home you are. You are making yourself a target.

Many people fail to acknowledge this fact simply because they believe that they are only sharing this information with friends. However, there are two problems with that notion.

First, many burglaries are committed by people you know. They’re inside jobs! Someone who has been inside of your home already knows the layout of the home, what you’ve done (if anything) to defend yourself, and what you have that might be worth taking.

Second, we’ve all heard horror stories about social media privacy settings that have gone wrong. If you’re not careful you could be broadcasting your location not only to friends, but to friends of friends. If your friends aren’t as careful about who they connect with on social media as you are then you could broadcast your location to complete strangers without ever realizing it.

Third, social media check-ins that broadcast to Twitter can be uncovered with a Google search, or a search for certain keywords on Twitter. Twitter is far more public than most people realize.

If you must use services like Foursquare (if only for the coupons) then you should opt out broadcasting your location to social media. You should also keep your check-ins private on the Foursquare network as well. That way, you can still get the badges (and be named Mayor!) and still engage in a lot of the fun. However, you won’t be leaving your home wide open to criminals and thieves who might want to take advantage of your absence.

Remember, theft crimes spike every holiday season. This is the time to be extra vigilant, and to adjust your habits in order to ensure your safety. It’s also a good time to start protecting your home and family with a monitored burglar alarm system.

Call us today for a free home security audit of your home. And don’t worry. You can give Santa the alarm code. 😉

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