Facebook Status Update Leads to Robbery

When you are ‘friends’ with people on Facebook that you are not actually friends with, how do you know whether they have good intentions?

A recent segment on CNN discusses the risks that you may be taking while updating your Facebook status. You don’t know who is looking at your private information because it’s truly not private – it’s public. Keri McMullen found this out the hard way after she posted a simple status message that she was going to see a band with her fiancé. It only took the burglars calling the venue to find out what time the show was to let them know when they could break into her home. The burglars showed up 35 minutes after the McMullens left for the concert.

It is that simple. You post a casual message to your “friends” that could turn into a nightmare where, like Keri, you lose upwards of $11,000 in personal property. They were lucky that they had cameras installed in the home and were able to catch the perpetrators on film. After posting pictures of them on her Facebook page (a good use of social networking), another friend recognized the intruders as Keri’s high school classmates.

Keri’s experience shows other Facebook users that, even though you may have known an individual at one time, if you do not interact with them and know their character now, then how can you trust them? Remember you don’t have to be Facebook friends with everyone you have ever spoken to. By keeping your ‘friends’ limited, you are lessening your risk of becoming a victim. No matter what privacy setting you have on your Facebook profile, your posts are public, permanent and exploitable.

John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael Ray, Anderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

4 replies
  1. Robert
    Robert says:

    It also said one of her FRIENDS saw their picture, recognized them, and told her who it was. That would tell me they were friends with HER friend, not her, or SHE would have recognized them.

  2. Paul
    Paul says:

    Great article – especially the bit about privacy settings. I find that the current trend of posting a photo from the airport with a cheeky 6am pint or cocktail is very alarming. You may as well raise a glass to the burglar who now knows your home is empty.

  3. Russel Stoner
    Russel Stoner says:

    We used to complain years ago about the government watching our every move and a CCTV camera on every corner. We now freely give away information at the drop of a hat allowing criminals to profit from it. Although as a previous comment stated, criminals are falling for the same trap and boasting about their activities which is very helpful for the police.


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