Posted by Sam Gliksman
Didn’t your Mother always remind your father to cancel the mail and newspaper delivery before you left on holidays? Well, for those of you using social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter, you should exercise the same caution when updating your status or sending out messages. A recent BBC news report shows that criminals are increasingly using social media to target their victims. If you announce your plans to go out for the evening or away on holidays you may be posting a public sign that reveals the fact that you’re not home.
Your online “friends” get direct feeds of everything you publish on your social media. To test how readily people accepted ‘friends’ online, Opinion Matters - a European market researcher - recently sent out 100 “friend” or “follow” requests to strangers selected at random. 13 percent were accepted on Facebook and 92 percent on Twitter—without any checks.
Despite these new “friends”, the survey found that nearly two-thirds of 16-24 year olds shared their holiday plans using their Facebook or Twitter accounts. Men were very relaxed about giving personal information online, with 13 percent going so far as to include their mobile phone number on their profile compared with 7 percent of women. Nine percent of men also posted their address compared to 4 percent of women. Of course, even if you don’t post your address it’s a relatively simple task to find it for those that know how.
So think twice before publishing that “So excited - we just left for a two week vacation” post. A complete stranger can quite easily learn about your interests, current location and movements in and out of your home ... and it would certainly ruin any holiday or evening out to come home to a ransacked house.
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September 14, 2009 | 12:33 pm
Posted by Sam Gliksman
I feel that it’s my responsibility to keep you apprised of developments in the field of technology use. It pains me to have to reveal that this bulletin is about two girls from Australia - my country of origin - but the story is just so absurd that I had to swallow my national pride and report it.
Two girls in Adelaide, Australia found themselves trapped in a storm drain ... one could end the story there and wonder how they managed to get themselves into a storm drain in the first place. Faced with the prospect of being lost in the drains for days, they conjured up a unique and creative solution to their problem. They managed to update their status on Facebook revealing that they were trapped and in desparate need of assistance. How did they accomplish it? They used their cell phone!!
Rather than use their cell phone to actually DIAL for emergency help, they instead used it to update their status and send out a call to their Facebook friends. One of their friends read the update and called the Fire Department. Thankfully they were released within a few hours.
Firefighter Glenn Benham, who took part in the rescue, said: “These girls were able to access Facebook on their mobile phones so they could have called the emergency services. It seems absolutely crazy but they updated their status rather than call us directly.”
Technology can be wonderful asset but it’s never a replacement for common sense…