This little reminder is posted for you each Holiday Season! With new considerations due to life in 2021.
At this time of year, many folks make plans to go away for the Holidays or are using up vacation time which means they will not be as available. As a result, we don’t answer emails as quickly (or at all), and onliners on our social accounts will notice our absence.
So, we engage our vacation/away messages to keep folks aware of our status. In addition, we post our upcoming plans with excitement and glee on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
We announce we will be out of town, for how long, where we are going, etc.
We’re leaving for the airport for our two week visit with family on the east coast! Excited!
What nefarious individuals see is, “There’s a house/condo/apartment that won’t have anyone home for two weeks!”
Or this year, sadly, messages and posts reflect virus-related statuses.
This year I’m staying home alone. Wishing for some company…..
Be careful what you ask for. No matter how careful you are about posting physical location details, some know how to find out. Unfortunately, most folks don’t know how easy it is — and how much information about you is publicly available.
Less is more…
Think about it… Social sites are, for the most part, accessible by anyone. So your goal is to let everyone who knows you or is a “friend” see what you are up to.
However, what you may be inadvertently doing is letting those who are less than honorable (a.k.a. thieves and thugs) know that your home will be available for them to pay a visit. Or that you’ll be alone.
Are all your “friends” actual friends?
This is a good time of the year to check your social account privacy settings. Make sure you are locked down to show detailed personal updates only to those whose friend requests you’ve accepted.
And even then, are all those “friends” indeed those you would trust with your physical location or personal status? Maybe consider unfriending those with who you are not actively engaged. There is no way you can know for sure if those who you do not know are trustworthy.
Why expose yourself to strangers just for a high friend count? Think quality over quantity.
Don’t believe me?
Search for your name on Google or any of the white page websites. You will probably be surprised to find how much information about you is publicly available, including the ability to “street view” your home on Google.
This is why when posting your status to your social networks or including details in your away messages; you should take extra care. Do not provide specifics or actual dates.
Talk in generalities when it comes to your Holiday schedule. Refrain from providing To and From dates that will indicate when your home may not be occupied.
Here are examples you can use right now for your voicemail, away messages, and social media updates:
You get the idea. Simply state you will not be checking email as regularly during the Holidays and will catch up shortly. Never provide specific dates and time-frames.
Don’t Post Photos in Realtime
Also, be wary of posting photos that show you are away from home. That’s as good as posting “empty house available” signs in your yard. Instead, share your photos when you return.
Let those truly personal contacts and real friends know any details via direct email or a phone conversation. And if you see friends posting too many details about their plans, offer them a word of caution too.
By not including dates and times, you are being prudent. However, in the process, you will be reflecting the necessary caution to protect yourself from those with ulterior motives or folks you do not know very well. Better safe than sorry, right?