You know the drill. Get to the airport and start tagging yourself and your gang in the departure lounge. Obligatory 'balcony' shot for Instagram when you get to the hotel, using the hashtag #blessedlife. And don't forget the after-hours Snapchat to show everyone back home just how much fun you're having on holiday.
It all sounds harmless enough, right? Well, that's where you could be wrong, as home insurance and social media don't always go well together.
Could social media make my home a target?
If you're sharing updates and posting pictures of yourself on a sun-drenched beach, then that's a green light for a thief who wants to target your home.
You wouldn’t put a sign on the door advertising that you’re on holiday, so posting that you’ll be away for a fortnight could invite an unwanted nightmare. Oversharing with your mates in the pub is one thing, but posts like these are too tempting an offer for burglars looking for their next heist.
Should I stop posting on Facebook while I'm away from home?
You don't have to, but it's a good idea to give all your accounts a thorough overhaul before you post anything. If you wouldn't tell a stranger on the street that your home is going to be empty, don't tell people on social media.
How can I make my social media secure?
- Go through your friend lists and delete anyone you don't know very well or you don't trust. If you don't meet up with this person in real life, they probably shouldn't be able to see your Facebook page.
- Don't post any pictures of your home on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, or give away the location.
- Don't ever put your address or phone number on Facebook – if you're having a party, send your guests the address by text.
- Don't accept follow requests or friend requests from people that you're not sure of, even if you have friends in common.
- Keep social media profiles private if possible, and limit what people can see.
How to keep your home safe while you're on holiday
There are no guarantees, but here are some things you can do to deter thieves.
- Ask a friend or family member to pop round every few days to collect mail piling up on the doormat, and to check windows and doors haven't been tampered with.
- Make it look like someone's at home – install a timer so the lights come on at different times. A cheaper alternative is a timer switch for plug sockets.
- Cancel the milk, and newspaper deliveries too.
- Don't tell all the neighbours that you're going away – they might accidentally let the wrong person know.
Are some social media accounts safer than others?
Well, the clue's in the name. So to avoid broadcasting to everyone on your accounts you're not at home, stick to privately messaging friends and family. Your sunset #nofilter shots will look just as wonderful on Whatsapp, we promise.
How can I stop people from tagging me in their holiday updates?
Just ask everyone you're with not to tag you in their social networking stories. If they forget, adjust the settings on your social media accounts to make sure you're not automatically tagged.
Adjust your Facebook settings so you can review new posts you've been tagged in before they appear on your timeline.
- Make your twitter account private.
- Make sure you don't tweet your location.
- Turn off tagging so people can't tag you in their tweets and photos.
To make sure only your friends can see your Snapchat stories, switch to 'My friends' under 'View my story' in your Snapchat settings.
If you're looking to protect your house (and everything in it), our home insurance can be tailored with a range of options to suit your needs.