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Social media posts can lead to burglary or other crimes

If someone is out with friends on a Saturday night, they might be tempted to check into the restaurant where they are eating or the concert they’re attending.

“A lot of people feel like they have to check in and do status updates to say, ‘I’m at this game’ or, ‘I’m out of town,'” said Tracy Perkins, a detective on the Cyber Crimes Task Force for the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. “Whoever is following you or is friends with you, if it’s five friends or 1,000 friends, all those people know exactly what you’re doing, because you’re putting those feeds onto your page.”

All those “friends” might not have your best interests at heart.

Bryana Larimer, a spokesperson for the Columbia Police Department, said the department tries to send out safety tips so people can avoid a burglary or another crime based on social media activity.

“We push that info out specifically during spring and winter break,” she said, during the prime time for vacations.

Perkins suggests posting about trips after returning to avoid a break-in.

“You just don’t know who is out there, ready to do that in our own community,” she said. “People have to be vigilant, and they have to be more cautious. We don’t want to become a victim.”

Sometimes, friends or followers aren’t the only ones to see a post about a person’s location, either.

“They take a picture of themselves and you, and then they tag you and say, ‘We’re in St. Louis having a great time,’ then that goes onto their feed and it goes onto your feed also,” Perkins said.

She recommends choosing the Facebook option to hide tagged photos and posts until approved.

People can also manually turn off location services on their devices and social media pages.

Children can also fall victim to excessive posts about location or activities . Perkins says parents should make sure they have total control of any electronic device, plus a complete understanding of it, before handing it over.

“Obviously, we want to make sure that we’re being safe at all times when it comes to social media,” she said. “We have a tendency to let our guard down.

We need to not be a walking billboard.”

Larimer also added that while people can turn off all the privacy settings, their posts and pictures are never really private.

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ABC 17 News Team

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