Social networking facilitating crime?


It's cute to tell the world that you're leaving on a week-long vacation, isn't it? Especially if you're a popular mommy blogger who has a wide following. I mean, who wouldn't want to know that you're going on the vacation of lifetime and will be out of touch for a week?

Well thieves apparently love it! I've long thought that sites like Twitter are a gold mine for criminals. So many users of Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social networking sites have absolutely no filter, and tell the world where they are, when they're there, and when they're coming back. They're so happy to share every detail about their lives and what they're doing, and you better believe someone is listening and taking notes.

What a perfect setup for someone who wants to break into their houses and steal their things. It's not hard to find out someone's address, even when they take precautions to conceal it. Ever heard of Google Street View? It gives you nice street level pictures of houses in metropolitan areas. Take about casing the joint with just a click of your mouse!

Social networking users need to understand that no one really wants to know their every move. My day will go on if I don't know what you had for breakfast or where you're going with your kids tonight. I don't need to know when your vacation is scheduled, nor when your next doctor's appointment is. Protect yourself and your family, because you don't know who is reading your updates and planning a crime against you.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.