Opportunistic Burglars Live and Die by the Facebook Sword
I have to admit, I’m guilty of one of the most common faux pas in the world of social media. In the same way that you smoke even though you know it can kill you or you go on that carnival ride even though you know your chance of getting sick are pretty high – I post statuses whilst vacationing.
I know that it’s a risk. I know that telling hundreds of people that I’m 3000 miles from home is like yelling “ROB ME” at the top of my lungs. Although I’d like to think that none of my Facebook friends would ever have anything to do with something so crappy, it’s really impossible to know for sure.
People post all kinds of personal information on Facebook, but it’s the “I’m away” statuses that used to get a lot of attention. Do you remember being warned a few years back about an epidemic of burglars that were constantly trolling Facebook and picking off the homes of unsuspecting travelers?
I sure do. And while I never doubted that Facebook could be used for such a malicious purpose, it never really seemed to play out like that for anyone I knew. That’s why it’s amazing to see that some idiots actually used Facebook to rob their friends.
In Anderson County, South Carolina, a 39-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man reportedly used the site to determine when their friends were out of town, and proceeded to burglarize their homes. “Several” homes were targeted over a couple of months, according to police.
In a wonderful bit of poetic justice, police ended up catching the couple by posting surveillance footage to their police Facebook page and having the community identify the crooks.
I’d be a hypocrite to instruct anyone to wait until they get home to post vacation photos and such. Nevertheless, it is the safest strategy. If you really, really want to boast to all of your Facebook friends about your amazing European adventure, there are services out there that will at least fool possible criminals with decoy statuses about being snuggled up at home on your couch.[h/t Ars Technica]