Burglars use social media to find next victims

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014
This photo illustrates a burglary or thief breaking into a home at night through a back door during the Christmas Holiday Season.

There's a big warning about social media this holiday season. Experts say sharing too much online could make you a target for burglars. And you might not even know it.

Back in the day, you would have to peer in someone's window to know if they were gone. But these days, all it takes to know if someone's home is empty is to rummage through their social media.

"You gotta be careful," said burglary victim Lavern Cheatheam. "You think posting and checking in wherever you go is fun, but you are actually letting people know -- hey I am gone. Go over there and take what you want."

She should know. Her home was cleaned out after her daughter posted their family's Las Vegas vacation on her Facebook page, tipping off burglars who were monitoring to see if the family was out of town.

On survey out of the UK says more than 78 percent of burglars are using social media to find their targets.

So how do you protect yourself from winter break break-ins? Social media expects are offering some tips to keep this from happening to you.

Tip 1:

Experts say don't overshare on social media and check your privacy settings and your location services on your phone.

Tip 2:

Don't check in on Facebook from airports or hotels. That tells would-be thieves you're leaving town.

Tip 3:

While it may be tempting, don't post photos while you're away. Wait until you're back home before sharing them.