Looking for trouble when you Tweet?
Services such as Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Buzz can alert criminals when users are not home, according to Confused.com, the price comparison service. Foursquare, for example, shows that people are in a specific spot and, more importantly, that the user is definitely not at home, Confused.com added.
It predicted that the new wave in social media could eventually lead to big rises in home insurance premiums.
Darren Black, the head of home insurance at Confused.com, said: “I wouldn’t be surprised if, as social media grow in popularity and more location-based applications come to fore, insurance providers consider these in their pricing of an individual’s risk. We could see rises of up to 10pc for people who use these sites.
“Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their information gathering, even using Google Earth and Streetview to plan their burglaries with military precision. Insurance providers are starting to take this into account when they are assessing claims and we may in future see insurers declining claims if they believe the customer was negligent.”
The company offered the following advice to users of social networking websites:
1. Never post your home address or other personal information such as your home phone number on social networking sites
2. Don’t follow people you don’t know on social networks and use block others from seeing your profile if you don’t know them
3. Turn off location-based services on Twitter and Facebook unless you absolutely need to use them