The huge growth in social networking is now starting to raise the issue of the risks it can pose for insurers by facilitating burglaries. The fact that young people are most likely to post compromising information (16-24 year olds ranked the highest in every case worst offenders for posting details about their whereabouts and pictures of expensive items that they own) indicates that these could be the households most at risk. This might eventually be reflected in the increases of insurance premiums for certain categories of homeowners.
ADVICE FOR SAFE SOCIAL NETWORKING
Don’t give out information that might reveal more about you than you want people to know, especially to strangers and people you have just met
Remember that what feels to you like a private conversation can often be watched online by friends of friends, or complete strangers
Think about using a fun fake name instead of your real name, do not disclose your street address or phone number on your wall or in your profile
Think about the profile photo you use – it might not be a good idea to make yourself appear like someone who is likely to own lots of expensive gear!
Think about the way you write online – it may seem strange, but professional burglars will be put off by people who abbreviate their posts or use ‘text language’ (e.g. u, ur, ttyl, etc.)
Don’t post details of when you are going on vacation, or when you are going to be leaving the house unattended.
Current trends in social networking are clearly part of the new agenda for home insurers, and you should also be very mindful of the potential dangers they entail.