Forget the proverbial “boogieman” lurking in the shadows to rob you, these days the criminal’s job has become even easier – thanks to technology!
Instead of having to physically scout for potential targets, thieves can now simply go online to see who has what they want and where they can find it. People often curate their Instagram pages to make their lives look more glamorous – getting a new car or an expensive watch is now marked with a post and a hashtag.
However, this trend of “Instabragging” can do more than just make your friends envious of your lifestyle; it can attract attention from the wrong type of person.
Software and Internet company Microsoft offers the following advice to protect yourself from would be criminals stalking you online and in person!
- Choose your social network carefully and understand its privacy settings and policy. For example, on Facebook you can set your pictures to be viewed only by your trusted circle of friends. On Instagram, you can set your profile to “private” meaning that your pictures will only be viewed by people you have given permission to.
- Everything put on a social networking site is permanent. Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text, or save images and videos to a computer – especially if you had lax security settings.
- Don’t check into every place you go to. While it would be cool to let all your friends know that your turbo-charged sports car cornered Chapman’s Peak like it was on rails, that car selfie with a location drop pin makes you vulnerable to people who are tracking your movements. Similarly, checking in at the airport on your way out of town is an announcement that you’re not home.
- While it may be tempting to post your bill from a fancy restaurant or your business class boarding pass, doing this frequently could make you a target as criminals assume you have a generous disposable income.
- Should you feel the need to post a picture of your brand new car, make sure your car registration is not visible.
- Modern technology has done a lot to improve our lives by making information more accessible. This very same technology, however, has made us more vulnerable to crime and cyber attacks.
It’s no secret that South Africa has a high crime rate and this includes cyber crime.
In the same way you would hesitate to walk around a shifty part of town wearing all your prized possessions, perhaps you should be more careful about where you advertise your treasures.
You never know who might be lurking on the streets of Twitter or the avenues of Instagram.