Police warn against posting travel plans on social media
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CHARLOTTE -- We're just a few days away from Memorial Day weekend, the "unofficial" start of summer. While Charlotte resident Najla Arrington isn't going anywhere this weekend, she's already aware of plenty of others who are.
"I was just checking my Facebook a little bit earlier and quite a few people are posting... they aren't here, they aren't from Charlotte... so they're posting that they're going to visit relatives in Connecticut, New York, and what have you,” said Arrington.
But even when she does head off for a vacation, she won't be posting about it on social media sites.
"You're basically giving them an open invitation like hey, come get my stuff!" said Arrington.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, that's exactly what you're doing when you post about travel plans on social media.
"It is a crime of opportunity. They prey on folks that they know aren't going to be home,” said Officer Jessica Lawrence, a public information officer with the department.
Even if you think you have all of your privacy settings in place, they say don't risk making yourself a target.
"You never know whose friend of a friend can actually see what's going on on your page. You don't know their backgrounds, you don't know who they are in your past. They might actually be your friend, face to face they're your friend, but they see an opportunity and they take advantage of it,” said Lawrence.
Their biggest piece of advice is to use common sense.
"Don't post things that you wouldn't want the average person to know. If you don't want Joe Blow on the street to know that hey, I'm out to dinner tonight or I'm on vacation for the week, don't put that up there. You can let your good friends know by phone, talk to them about it, but don't post that for the world to see,” said Lawrence.
So stop and think, before hitting that "post" button.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department wouldn't track this as an individual crime, but Lawrence said if someone did break into your house because of Facebook, obviously the suspect wouldn't tell you that's how they got their information.