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A happy social media post can turn into a holiday nightmare

Sharon Paterson, Infiniti Chief Executive Officer

Indiscriminate social media posting is allowing criminals to access information that makes homeowners a target for burglary or theft the Chief Executive of a leading insurance company has warned.Infiniti Insurance’s Sharon Paterson says posting travel and holiday arrangements on social media provides criminals with information that makes your home, vehicle and property vulnerable.

“The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) recently presented their research on social mining data, network vulnerability data science for public safety and cyber security awareness which showed how networkers were preyed upon online.

“The CSIR findings warn we should take cognisance of the fact that some Apps require access to your exact location, revealing details such as your house number, workplace and e-mail account details,” she points out.

Paterson says sharing the details of your travels, holidays or festive season outings, thus effectively saying when you will not be at home, on Facebook or Instagram and other social media may be a lot of fun but it is also telegraphing news that your home may be unattended to would-be burglars

The incidents of residential robberies and burglaries in South Africa are alarming with Stats South Africa reporting 43 000 residential robberies and burglary incidents in 2018 - a 10 year high. There were 71 131 business robberies and burglary incidents according to Stats SA. Now social media has become of concern in adding to your odds of being targeted.

According to research done by an insurance company in the United Kingdom, one in 20 of the burglaries (in the UK) happened while the homeowner was on holiday, while another survey found one in 12 Britons had been burgled after posting their location abroad on social media,” Paterson says.

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends – in 2018; 3.196 billion social media users were online – however telegraphing your personal information has a down side.   For examplepeople post pictures of their vehicles with a number plate clearly visible for the world to see, making it easier for criminals to clone the registration number.

Paterson points to good news coming from the CSIR report, one of the researchers in the CSIR survey Dr Vukosi Marivate says the organisation is working towards using social media to combat crime by developing a tool to help law enforcement agencies, government and NGOs understand the trends in crime.

This approach will provide an insight to the major problem of house burglaries and car theft. In conjunction with these efforts we will continue to offer innovative solutions as risk mitigation by embracing smart and interconnected technology to ensure efficiencies within the Infiniti universe and broker channel which resides at the centre of the role in managing risk with our clients.

It is so important to tighten up your online security. Remove people you do not know or trust as friends on Facebook. Turn off location services and remove personal details from profile pages. You can also do a search to identify what personal information is being distributed online. Do not announce your holiday plans or send out a stream of information as to where you are to your family and friends as this information becomes available in an open forum and can land up in the hands of people that you would never invite into your home or trust with any of your personal information.

Infiniti Insurance Limited is an A-(ZA)-rated short-term insurer that writes all classes of business including Aviation, Marine, Watercraft, Liability, Engineering and Guarantees. The Infiniti advantage lies in the quality of our service and our commitment to excel.

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