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Rob Gould

Rob works as a digital marketing & public relations consultant to agencies, brands, and individuals. He has 20 years of marketing experience. He also currently serves in a volunteer capacity as director of pr/communications for TEDxDirigo. From 2005-2011, Rob served as director of social media & agency communications at The VIA Agency (Portland). Prior to VIA, Rob worked with several PR & advertising agencies in London & Boston. He is a graduate of The University of Vermont (UVM) and a Maine transplant (2002). Follow Rob on Twitter at @bobbbyg His real-life interests include art, travel, writing, design, psychology, the beach, & exercise (grudgingly at times).

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Posted: February 10, 2015

Instagram posts lure burglars seeking expensive loot | Don’t be a dummy!

Written by: Rob Gould
"Rolex 5100" by Derk Marko Reckel - DMR - own picture taken of own watch. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

“Rolex 5100” by Derk Marko Reckel – DMR – own picture taken of own watch. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

We’ve all heard warnings from police about how Facebook posts — especially of people on vacation — can alert thieves to homes that are vulnerable to burglary. Well now Instagram has joined the club. So, think twice about what you post on the photo-sharing site.

According to Philadelphia police some questionable posts on Instagram tipped off burglars to some high-end loot. Philly police said the victim — a 19-year-old man — posted photos on the app displaying some deluxe jewelry he’d inherited, including two gold chains, a Rolex watch, and mobile devices. Who does this stuff? SO ill-advised.

Soon after he posted the photos the victim was met by intruders in ski masks who knocked down his door. What could be more frightening?! Police arrived after a resident called 911. Unfortunately, the three thieves managed to escape through a window. Police reported that the victim said the burglars mentioned the Instagram posts referencing the jewelry.

Although the Instagram twist provides a new angle, the risks presented by social media have been known for quite a while. In 2010, the Association of British Insurers warned that home insurance premiums could rise by up to 10%, partially due to an increase in home invasions resulting from people revealing their whereabouts on social networks.

According to the ABI report, around 40% of British social network users post their holiday plans online, while roughly a third reveal their ordinary weekend plans. Meanwhile, 78% of convicted burglars surveyed by British security firm Friedland said they think burglars who are still practicing the vocation are using social media to find likely targets. The Social Graf

I’m sure these numbers are similar in the U.S.

Of course, if you’re a really stupid burglar you can also getting caught by posting stupid things to Instagram. In 2013, four burglary suspects were arrested in the town of Rocklin, Calif., after posting a photo of a fast food smorgasbord they allegedly ordered with a stolen credit card. Police said that the photo, which appeared on Instagram, led them to the suspects.

File that move under, “DUH.”

So, it probably seems obvious not to post photos of expensive items on social media — mostly because it’s obnoxious — or photos of you and your family on vacation. But let this terrifying saga of home invasion be a reminder to you. Stay safe. Don’t be a dummy.


For more on Instagram and burglary check out this post from The Social Graf.


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