House Tours: The Social Media Trend That’s Putting Homeowners at Risk
There are thousands of online videos showing brand new homes with spacious kitchens, elegant dining areas and empty bedrooms just waiting to be decorated. In the past, these clips were exclusively made by real estate agents in the hopes that potential buyers would be intrigued by the images and show an interest in the available property. Now, a simple search will yield thousands upon thousands of house tours made by regular couples and families, posted publicly to celebrate the purchase of their new home.
This popular trend took off in the past several years when celebrities began showcasing their homes and flashy possessions for TV shows, design magazines, and YouTube. The move gained a huge following and eventually, everyday people started creating their own clips. It’s become easy to amass over one million views from strangers curious to peek around another person’s home.
On the surface, the trend seems harmless. After all, many have a keen interest in design and décor and sharing videos allows users to display their unique creations. Indeed, most viewers will simply appreciate the shared ideas and move on. However, because many of the items posted online are not private, the user has no idea who is viewing their clips for more nefarious purposes: like planning a robbery.
Home robberies are incredibly common but also surprisingly short. Most perpetrators will spend only about 10 minutes ransacking a home and escaping. This minimizes the risk of getting caught by neighbors or residents who return unexpectedly. Because this timeframe is so limited, thieves must be efficient and selective in order to obtain valuables from the short heist. Therefore, innocent video tours become a helpful blueprint for a crook to work from. After all, these clips show the location of valuables, like a TV or jewelry box, as well as the quickest way to the exits.
Though video creators may not realize it at first, burglars are indeed utilizing these tools to craft more effective – and damaging – crimes. The practice is becoming so widespread that insurance agents are predicting that social postings will soon factor into insurance rates and claim denials.
When coupled with other forms of social media, the videos can provide an incredibly detailed understanding of a victim’s home, schedule, and other pertinent aspects. Many smartphones also attach the physical coordinates of pictures automatically, unless disabled. Combined, these factors can make anyone a vulnerable target. Police estimate that over ¾ of burglars use social media to prepare for a break-in.
One New York City-based vlogger (online celebrity) was recently targeted by armed burglars after flaunting their luxury apartment and designer goods. The young man was held at knife-point while a number of crooks stole valuables and escaped. Before they fled, the perpetrators even admitted to viewing his home-based clips and suggested he was to blame for his misfortune.
While individuals should feel free to put fun and creative posts on social media, exercising caution when revealing personal information can save a world of heartache.
The best way to avoid break-ins is to secure your house with a home security system. Visit alarmguardsecurity.ca for useful information.
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