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Burglars Find Jobs On Twitter


Thieves are using Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare as tip sheets.

Thanks to careless postings on social-networking sites, burglars can find out when homeowners are out of town and whether or not they own a menacing dog, experts say. According to a new report, nearly 80% of former burglars said they believed thieves use these resources to target homes. That could be a polite way of saying they are speaking from personal experience.

Social networking also allows burglars to “case the joint” without leaving home. What’s more, 74% of ex-burglars say they believe location services like Google Street View is helpful to burglars planning raids. (Twitter and Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.)

It means burglars can hang up their black cat suits and stop prowling in neighborhoods in the dark. The average value of goods stolen during the day is $2,158 versus $1,868 at night, according to the survey by, a website with credit scoring and personal finance tools.

More people are happy to have their location tracked. A recent poll by MetLife Auto & Homes showed that 15% of Americans use social media to say that they left their home, while 35% of Americans between 18-24 years of age “check in” our Tweet about their location.

A spokesman for Google says the imagery available on Street View is no different from what people can see when walking down the street themselves or when viewing images which are already widely available on a number of real estate and directory sites: Saying that Street View is enabling crime is similar to blaming the motor industry for a crime because criminals also use getaway cars.”

Facebook and Twitter are also rich resources for the insurance industry. As Pay Dirt reported, there have been several cases involving child custody and employees claiming disability benefit. In one case, a judge awarded custody to a father after a Facebook photograph showed the mother drinking alcohol.

The lesson? Don’t be a Twittiot. Be careful what you share with the worldwide web. As Lori Johnson, a California-based licensed investigator, warned: “It’s an avenue that most wise investigators would exploit. We go over, shake the tree and see what kind of monkey falls out.”


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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to or tweet @SMPayDirt.