Crooks admit using social media to target burglary victims - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Crooks admit using social media to target burglary victims

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PHOENIX -

It is so easy now for burglars to figure out who's home and who's not without even casing a neighborhood. All they have to do is log on to Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site.

You'd be surprised at how many crooks are scanning social media sites, monitoring when you check-in to places -- and I think a lot of us are guilty of using our phones and doing that.

One survey says 78 percent of burglars admit to using Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare to pick their victims, and which homes they break into.

"It's automatic for me, pretty much as soon as I walk into the door," says Tianna Farmer.

For many, checking in on Facebook and posting pictures online is second nature.

"Every time I post a picture I tag where I'm at on Facebook then it tags it on to my Instagram so every hour or so I'm posting a picture," says Marina Acevedo.

Until tonight they had no clue, that not just friends, but burglars too read their posts, look at their pictures, and watch where they check-in.

"I think that you just ruined my life right now," says Tianna.

According to the study, burglars say checking in when you're at a comedy club or restaurant -- that's a big mistake, because you're basically saying ‘hey I'm here and I'm not at home.'

"We have actually caught folks who have actually said this was, I saw they were out of town, I saw they were going to be gone, they posted pictures from their trip, clearly they're not home so that's why I targeted their home," says Mesa Police Officer Steve Berry.

The obvious solution to preventing yourself from becoming the next burglary victim -- don't check in or post. That's easier said than done, for some.

"It's really hard though, you want to let people know hey I'm here, come join the party," says Farmer.

"I don't think I want to tag where I'm at all the time if that's the case. It's crazy people can do that," says Acevedo.

It may be hard to break the habit, but it's definitely a good warning to think twice, before you check in or post.

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