When Oversharing Online Results in Crime ...

Facebook users, whether they're corporate or individual, need to be more cognizant of what they're posting and who has access to that information.

By Lora Bentley | Posted Sep 13, 2010
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How many times have I said it now?

Facebook users, whether they're corporate or individual, need to be more cognizant of what they're posting and who has access to that information. The need for caution is more pronounced now that Facebook Places has joined location-based services.

Nothing illustrates the point more clearly than a situation in New Hampshire, where police think the accused used information from Facebook and other social networks as they planned a string of 18 burglaries in which they stole property worth more than $100,000.

According to MSNBC, two teenagers from New Hampshire and a man from Massachusetts "cased" houses and watched status updates on Facebook and other social-networking sites to see who would not be home.

Such burglaries are just the things sites like PleaseRobMe.com try to prevent by increasing user awareness of just how much of their personal information is online. In February, the site's creators wrote:

People might be over-sharing without knowing about it. For example, you might relay your Foursquare location to your public Twitter account and by doing this expose the message to the whole world ...Most social networks have good search functionalities. This means others [besides friends] can find you and your information as well. It's important to be aware of privacy settings, to control the reach your messages have.

Otherwise, they say, you essentially become a "human homing beacon."

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