Churchill home insurance has issued a warning to users of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter not to make their whereabouts known to thieves.
Users of websites such as these often update their status to include what they are doing that day, and where they are going, which could be seen by people they had not intended to show, and used against them.
Social networkers who update their status in such a way as to advertise to thieves when they are not home could cause a rise in house burglary, the home insurance provider warns.
Like the location updater Foresquare, there is now also Facebook Places, which pinpoints the user's exact location, potentially letting more people than just their friends gain knowledge of their whereabouts.
While inadvertently letting thieves know their location via a social network will not make their home insurance invalid in the event they are burgled, it is simply common sense to avoid advertising their whereabouts to opportunistic thieves, says Claire Foster, spokesperson for Churchill home insurance.
"To return home and discover you have been broken into is an awful experience for anyone to endure," she said, and even home insurance will not be able to replace an item with sentimental value attached to it.
"Thankfully most items can be covered by home insurance. However, some items, especially those of particular sentimental value, could well be irreplaceable making home security measures of even greater importance."
According to Churchill, almost one in five households have had family heirlooms stolen whilst they were away from their home. More than one in four said the items had held great memories and that they were "emotionally attached to the items," which Foster said highlighted the importance of householders not leaving themselves vulnerable to thieves.
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