United Group Insurance

Rethink posting holiday plans and presents on social media websites


December 23rd, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Iowans who will be away from home for the holidays may want to reconsider telling the world about their plans on Facebook and Twitter. Scott Parsons, an insurance agent in Waterloo, says your cheery news could quickly end up being read by an evil-minded Grinch. Parsons says it’s best to keep your travel plans to yourself. Parsons says, “It would help to prevent broadcasting your private information to everybody that is a friend and an acquaintance of yours but it would also prevent it from going out to all of their friends and acquaintances as when you make a post, it shows up on their social media website, too.” The way social media often works, Parsons says your simple comment might end up bringing you a lot of trouble.

“There could be thousands of people who know that you have left to go to your mom and dad’s for Christmas,” Parsons says. “It could really set you up for a loss, somebody breaking in and stealing your property.” Parsons says you should also be careful about posting pictures and videos on social websites, because you really don’t ever know how far and wide they’ll be seen. “When you make a video, you could reveal your house number so people will know where you live,” Parson says. “If you purchase a new car, you may put some nice photos on the Internet but it also has your license plate information on there.” That, he says, makes it easy for someone to track down your address. While there may be some amazing gifts under your tree and you’d like to brag online, Parsons says to stifle that urge.

“Resist the temptation to post updates about any big-ticket items to your household,” he says. “That 60-inch TV or the X-box 360 games are high targets for people who want to steal, so putting it on Facebook that you have those new items could set you up for being a target.” Parsons also says using the “Find Friends” feature is something you might want to disable on your mobile device as the information about your exact location using GPS mapping technology could also be abused. 

(Pat Powers/Radio Iowa)