Is There Any Actual Proof A House Was Robbed Due To A Facebook Status Update?

from the somewhere?--anywhere? dept

Back in September, we noted our skepticism of some police and press reports about burglars using Facebook to pick their targets. It makes for a good story, but it just seems like an incredibly inefficient way to go about things — and even with certain Facebook status updates, you have no idea if that means everyone in the house is gone. It just seems a hell of a lot easier to use other methods. Yet, because it’s online and police and the press love to jump to conclusions, we’ve now got another similar report — this time by the BBC, involving police in the UK warning people that Facebook updates are a burglary risk. The evidence for this? A woman whose house was robbed thinks it’s because her kids posted a Facebook update about how they were going to be out getting a dog that day. Actual evidence to support that? None. Did they catch the burglar and find out it was a Facebook friend? Nope. Did they even review the Facebook friends? Doesn’t sound like it. So why does everyone jump to these conclusions?

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Comments on “Is There Any Actual Proof A House Was Robbed Due To A Facebook Status Update?”

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Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Why jump to the conclusions?


Sad when the ‘shining example’ America was supposed to set for the world moves from ‘freedom and democracy’ to ‘idiocy and over reactive sensationalism’. If I keep having to drown my national identity in alcohol on a weekly basis, I might as well just stay in the bottle. :/

Tony says:

I don’t know about Facebook status being a risk. I mean you should “know” most/all of your friends? Right? Maybe some of them at least?

But twitter, is even worse because it is public. Anyone can see your tweets. Than with people and their damn 4square updates.

In all honestly, I dont know if anyone has actually been robbed. However, I personally don’t publicly tell the world where I live and when I am not home. It just seems like a bad idea.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here is the “old fashioned version”:

Anyone with an open Facebook profile could be at risk.

Anyone who uses something like foursquare or tweets their locations on a regular basis could be at risk. Anyone who posts up images from an Iphone with the GPS information encoded (or uses a service that reveals that info) is at risk.

Big risk? Who knows. Risk. That is all.

Michael (profile) says:


That’s the point. You have given a proven example of the method that works. Why are the police spouting out about criminals using Facebook to do this without any actual evidence that it has happened?

Do you remember the same thing happening with answering machines when they first came out? Don’t say “we’re not home” on your message! People will come and rob your house! Say “we are not available”!

There are better ways for criminals to research when someone will be home that does not put them on a list of potential suspects. Think about it – you have to friend someone on Facebook, find out where they live (assuming you don’t already actually know them), watch for them to indicate that they and their entire family will be out, and then go rob their house as soon as you see it happen.

A well-prepared burglar can ransack a house for everything worth taking in less than 10 minutes. They don’t care where you have gone. They are not waiting for you to go on vacation so they can take their time.

Anonymous Coward says:


Knowing that you are gone for a long time, or that you are currently at work far from home, adds to the potential to be a victim.

Plenty of people post up images of their spendy bike, the expensive home computer, their sexy new home theater, and so on. All of these things make you a great target for potential theives, and thanks to GPS tagging, your facebook information, your blog, and all those other things, people can figure out where you live and pretty much waltz right in. Your profile says you are single, you are on a business trip to another city for 24 hours, and so on.

Other people have cited examples in this thread. I was only citing an example of the old low tech way that this was done. Announcing that you are away is just making it easier for people to know when to come visit.

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