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Security and Safety Precautions

Real Estate Agent with Golf and Water Real Estate Agency

Do you think it would be a good idea to tell everyone this holiday season about the new 52″ Flat Screen TV Santa dropped off at your house, then tell everyone you will be out of town for a week visiting family (in case they wanted to steal it)?

Would you think it would be safe to tell EVERYONE exactly where you are throughout the day, where you are having lunch (and with who), where you are going out dancing (and with who) and when?

I have a couple cautions for everyone regarding the conscious sharing of information through Social Media Sites (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc.), and one situation which you may not have be aware of which exposes your exact location at any given time.

Obviously, when you post your updates through Twitter and Facebook about where you are, what you are doing, etc., you need to be acutely aware of the fact that you are telling everyone (not just your friends) where you are.....and where you are not.  You need to be aware of what unscrupulous folks could do with this information. Period.  When you send out your Tweets, just think......think about the information you are sending.....and whether you really want everyone to have that information.

Another situation you may not be aware of relates to uploading pictures from your Smartphone to the internet, and the hidden information that is transmitted along with the photo.  Many smartphones, including the iPhone, embed high-precision geo-coordinates with all photos and videos taken with the internal camera unless explicitly switched off in the global settings. Their accuracy even exceeds that of GPS as the device determines its position in combination with cell-tower triangulation.

Very quickly, using free software, anyone can easily determine with incredible accuracy based on the location coordinates in the phonto exactly where the picture was taken.  So, you meet your friends that you have not seen in a while for lunch, and a snap a great picture.  While you are waiting for the appetizers to arrive, you send out a quick (45 second) Tweet saying you are having lunch with your good old friends, and you attach the picture you just took.  In an instant, you have just told everyone you were not at home, you showed them exactly who you were with, and you gave everyone the exact coordinates of where you are.  Just be careful and cognizant of the information you are transmitting at all times....

There are many crimes being committed based on the information being provided as described...so much so, that they have even come with a term for it now.  It is called CyberCasing, and you can read a good article about it here.

The geotagging option can be disabled on your phone.  Check with your cell phone service provider, or click here for instructions.

Comments (1)

Judith Parker
ProStead Realty - Charlotte, NC
CRS, GRI, CMRS, Charlotte, NC

Hi Carl...good information.  How easily we can forget that we are not just sharing with friends.  Thank you!

Nov 15, 2010 09:24 AM