As we get closer to the holiday travel season, this is a good time to give a refresher on social media safety and travel plans.

Gone are the days of needing to wait until you get home from a trip and develop your film to share images of your travels. With everyone having a smartphone these days, and smart phones having cameras that are as good or better than any fancy camera you might buy, capturing, viewing, and sharing pictures from a trip is as easy as the push of a button. As tempting as it may be to share photos of your travels real-time with your social media followers, it is a good idea to wait until you’re back from your trip to share that you went at all.

Think of this scenario: your Aunt Jane shares a photo online with a caption “having a great time in Italy! Ciao!” only to come home and find out her house has been broken into and her valuables are gone. Aunt Jane lives alone and only a few people knew she was going out of town. How did someone know she wasn’t going to be home?? Then Aunt Jane remembers she posted a picture of herself on her trip last week and it hits her: she invited the bad guys right into her home!

You see, once you post something on social media, anyone can see it. Although your “friends” list might be small and your settings might be private, a person who “likes” your photo might have different settings, or someone could take a screen shot of your post and share it that way, and it doesn’t take long before private information can become very public. All someone has to do is search for your name in your city and they can figure out where you live. They know the risk of being caught is low because you are halfway across the world!

So, what should you do instead:

1. Be smart about posting on social media. Don’t post a countdown to a trip, and don’t share pictures and posts while you’re gone.

2. Wait until you come home to share your photos. We promise, the pictures are just as amazing and your friends will still enjoy seeing them, even if they aren’t real-time.

3. Double-check your privacy settings. Limit your list of friends to people that you know and limit what you can be tagged in and who can see things on your page. Turn off location settings, too. Even if you don’t share a photo, even posting just words can be risky if your location tells people you’re not home.

4. Have someone you trust check on your home while you’re gone. A trustworthy neighbor can keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

5. Set your alarm whenever you are away. If someone does decide to break in, this first line of defense can save the day. And, you might get a discount on your home insurance!

At Levin Insurance Agency, we aren’t just about collecting your payments and sending you on your way. We want to help you manage your risk and protect your assets and your family. Can you say the same about your insurance agency? If not, give us a call at (248) 531-8300. You’ll be glad you did. Ciao!

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