Twitter and Facebook Users: To Help a Thief

February 22, 2010  |   Social Media   |   0 Comment

If you have ever posted on your wall or tweeted where you were going and what you were going to do, I am going to help you realize why that is the WORST thing you could do to yourself and your family.

If you’re at all involved with social media (specifically Facebook & Twitter), you may have heard of how thieves are cashing in using your Facebook posts & your Twitter tweets. It’s a rather scary thought, but I wanted to make sure that my readers were aware of this situation before you made the mistake of helping a thief.

Let me back up a little bit and wrap some context around this issue.  With Facebook & Twitter being two of the titans of social media, their users can connect & communicate with their friends online all over the world without racking up a massive phone bill.  While many users share with their networks the things that interest them such as news articles, blog posts, photos, videos, & music…there are a handful of people who (in my opinion) share way too much!  One thing that has really given me a heart ache recently was the rising popularity of sharing with the internet your current location!

In fact, there are many social media platforms that promote this.  Google Buzz, Brightkite, Gowalla & Foursquare are among the fastest growing platforms that encourage users to share their current location with the rest of the world to see.  While none of their intentions are bad, this opens up a very unique window for a new era of thievery. is a new website that is trying to raise awareness at how easy it is for somebody to clean you out when you go on vacation, especially if you share with the world that you’re going to be gone.

Let me break down how a thief might use this technology for their gains at your expense:

  1. A thief goes online and heads on over to and looks for the “Recent Empty Homes” opportunities and goes through and clicks on the user name to go to their Twitter profile page
  2. Most people put their personal websites in the URL section of their Twitter profile page, so the thief then clicks that link and goes to your personal website
  3. If you think you’re safe just because you didn’t include your address or your contact information, that’s no problem.  The thief can just go to the WhoIs directory and paste your URL in and the directory will show them the address you used to register for your domain name
  4. Granted not everybody will have their home address listed under their domain name registration, but you’d be surprised at how many people have their home address listed
  5. So at this point, the thief has: your travel dates, your travel location, and God forbid your home address

A bit hard to visualize all 5 of those points yea?  don’t worry, I think I confused myself.  I took the liberty of creating a nice flowchart that outlines each of these 5 points that are correlated by the big blue circled number.

(Start at the “Please Rob Me” image at the upper-left portion of the chart and make your way counter-clockwise)

Twitter & Facebook Thief Process

It definitely makes you think twice before sharing your travel itinerary information doesn’t it?  Best bet is to have a good friend or a family member swing by your place every now and then to house sit or if you live in a good neighborhood or complex, ask your complex manager or your neighbors (whom you trust of course) to keep an eye out on your place for you.

I hope this has been insightful for some of you and a good reminder for the rest.  Stay tuned for more SEO tips!

About the author

Maximus Kang is the Director of SEO Strategy & Founder of Ranking Channel, a Seattle-based SEO consulting agency. With enterprise level experience at Expedia and agency experience at Optify, his SEO knowledge covers a wide spectrum. He also started his very . Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on Facebook.

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