Some people update their social networks with every detail of their lives, revealing intimate details such as their date of birth, home address and when they’re off on holiday.
A study by LV= revealed that 36pc of social net-workers do not lock their profiles, meaning anyone – including criminals – can access their status updates. Some even admitted posting photographs of their homes.
Last year, the insurer More Than carried out a survey of reformed burglars and found that 12pc said they would use websites like Facebook and Twitter to find out when their potential victim is out of the house. Telling the internet that you’re off on holiday is as good as shouting “I’m out – burgle me”.
A burglary is not just distressing; making a claim will drive up your future insurance premiums as well. That means you could still be paying for one thoughtless tweet or wall post for years.
There has even been some suggestion that an insurer could refuse to pay a home insurance claim if you had revealed online that you would be away – after all, you are expected to take reasonable care of your property. The Association of British Insurers says it is not aware of any company declining a claim for this reason. However, it does urge householders to think twice before sharing their private information and movements with strangers online.
It’s not just burglars that you need to think about when you update your blog or tweet your plans. The press is full of stories of people inviting a few friends to a house party through Facebook, only to have thousands of strangers descend on their home and trash their property. This kind of damage will not be covered by every home insurance policy, it will depend on the extent of your cover.
As a nation, we are becoming increasingly comfortable with sharing more and more information on the web – but it’s important to consider your personal security and to make sure your privacy settings are up to date. Otherwise, your casual online chatter could end up giving a burglar all the information they need to make you their next victim.
Julie Owens is head of insurance at moneysupermarket.com