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Facebook Statuses Lead to Burglaries

TMCnews Featured Article

September 13, 2010

Facebook Statuses Lead to Burglaries

By Juliana Kenny, TMCnet Managing Editor

A recent investigation into a series of burglaries in Nashua, New Hampshire led the local police force to the realization that all of the victims had posted their vacancies on Facebook (News - Alert). While it is not unusual to see friends’ and families’ statuses show upcoming vacation spots and dates of needing a cat sitter, how many of those Facebook users thought it would give thieves a window of opportunity?

As the investigation progressed, police discovered that certain thieves, specifically ones involved in a recent outbreak of 18 burglaries in the Nashua area, had stolen a large amount of fireworks. After the brilliant and stealthy thieves set off the fireworks, they were pinned, and $200,000 worth of stolen goods were recovered. The local law enforcement has warned citizens of the potential risks of posting locations and absences on Facebook and other social networking sites. (So much for Facebook’s “Places” app.)

The Nashua Police Captain Ron Dickerson warned, "Be careful of what you post on these social networking sites," to local citizens. Just as identity theft has been a recent growing issue with the availability of personal information online and through social media, now actual theft is a crime trickling down from the cyber world.

As a member of Facebook that took a hiatus from the online community for several years because of “distraction” and “obsession,” this reporter has always been leery of the negative impact of announcing one’s location on the Internet. Of course it’s great to announce on Facebook where and when you’ll be galavanting off into the Italian sunset on a rose-bespeckled gondola, but the possible results of revealing your exact location online are detrimental and dangerous. Maybe posting this isn’t a good idea anymore:

Facebook is a stalker’s paradise, and now with the emergence of the “Places” app which lets you post your specific location as your status as well as other social media applications such as Twitter’s location feature, any obsessed maniac or deranged burglar is aware of your location with one click. Are new safety features to come? New government-installed security devices? Only time and a few more thieves absconding with fireworks will tell.

Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC (News - Alert) as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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