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Away for the Holidays? Social Media Warnings

If you're among the millions heading out of town for the holidays you're also a possible target for thieves hoping to get your gifts at home.
Police say all it takes is one post to your favorite social media site like facebook or twitter, to tell thieves you're gone for the holidays.

"It's something you have to be very aware of and you have to take steps to protect yourself," says IPFW media expert John Kaufelt. "The dangers you run into are a little like posting a sign in the front yard of your house saying oh by the way I'm gonna be gone for the next two weeks."

Even if you don't post that you're out of town, thieves can still track where you are If you keep your location services on your phone.

If you forget to turn them off for facebook Or twitter, your latest update will show where you are when you post it. "All of those are signs for people looking at them to say.. 'hmmm I bet they're gonna be gone!' which means the house is gonna be empty which means right after Christmas.. I always wanted a big screen tv." Bottom line.. police say if you want to document your holiday vacation, do it after you return home.

More tips:

1. Never post that you’re going to be on vacation. Your friends can see pictures when you get back; posting that you will be away for an extended amount of time is an invitation for thieves.

2. If you let people know you’re going out, don’t say for how long. Without knowing when you will return, criminals won’t have the confidence that you’ll be gone long enough to plan a crime.

3. Be wary of which products/stores you check into and post pictures from. If you frequently check in at your home, then your address is easy to find. Combine that with check-ins at high-end stores or pictures of expensive gifts and bad guys will know exactly where to find those gifts.

4. If your home is listed on check-in sites, don’t use your actual address. Being generic about where your home is located makes it harder for people to find you, your family, and your stuff.

5. Be selective about posting pictures from inside your home. Posting photos of elaborate decorations or gifts under the Christmas tree can be enticing to those looking to prey on homes with lots of merchandise.

6.Talk to your kids about social media safety. It’s easy for kids and teens to get caught up in the “game” of checking in with their friends. Explain to them the importance of being safe while sharing information online and why they should be extra vigilant during the holidays.

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