Facebook users warned to stay safe

Senior Sergeant Stewart Day advises all to be mindful of their Facebook posts.
Senior Sergeant Stewart Day advises all to be mindful of their Facebook posts. Georja Ryan

ROBBERS are trawling Facebook to find their next victims, with holiday-goers their number one target.

Reports overseas have revealed cases where those on holidays have returned to their homes to find an empty shell, all because they 'checked in' and posted about being away from home on Facebook.

No cases have been reported in Australia so far, but with the increasing reliance and popularity of social networking, we may not be too far behind.

Warwick Police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Stewart Day said Facebook users needed to increase their privacy settings and be aware of the dangers.

"People need to be mindful and very cautious of Facebook with what information they share, who they are friends with and shouldn't advertise when they're away from home," Senior Sergeant Day said.

"Our message is, don't put personal information on the internet that can come back and haunt you in the future.

"We urge people not to post where they live, their date of birth and their full name," he said.

Senior Sergeant Day said burglaries were not the only risk of which users should be aware.

"People should be very mindful of what personal information they put on Facebook, because people can use personal details in identity theft too," he said.

Warwick Senior Citizens Association publicity officer Mick McEniery said he wanted seniors to be aware of the dangers of the site.

More and more older people are signing up for a Facebook account as a means to reunite with long-lost family and friends.

Mr McEniery said seniors could be less informed about the dangers, making them more susceptible to exploitation.

"People don't really understand how the information they put on Facebook is easily traceable to where they live," Mr McEniery said.

"But I think one good thing is seniors are cautious of technology and unsure of how to access these things."

Mr McEniery said he was of the opinion Facebook for seniors was not worth the risk.

He said seniors were safer to rely on classic communications devices or stick to email for something more modern.

Warwick senior Marg Wilkie said she preferred to steer clear of computers when contacting loved ones.

"We have plenty of free time so we can write a letter or pick up the phone," she said.

Topics:  facebook social media theft

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