Research shows that Instagram braggers could be making it easier for thieves

Instagram

Five front doors, four new bags, three diamond rings, two hashtags and a Christmas robbery

Research by insurance specialist Rias and the University of Salford reveals that ' Insta-braggers’ leave an average of five clues on their profile that can tell a thief where they live and why it’s worth breaking in.

244 public Instagram accounts, who have used the hashtag search of ‘new’, e.g."#NewLaptop" "#NewWatch”, “#NewHandbag” were selected for analysis by criminologists from the University of Salford.

The criminologists found that many posts included photos or text references that showed the account holder owned objects of desire. These ranged from new cars (often with private registration plates), mobile phones (iPhones), perfume, designer shoes, designer handbags, to property (e.g. new home or apartment). These images and/or videos, were always accompanied by a hashtag that described the luxury status of the item.

Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Dr Tina G. Patel, said:

“This study has demonstrated the levels of vulnerability to crime that emerge from disclosing too much information about ourselves, our lives and possessions, via social media (Instagram, in this case). Raising awareness about safe communication and control of one’s life-story content on social media, is a key way to reducing victimisation."

To reduce the risk of becoming a target, social media users should avoid posting:

  • images and location tags that give details about holidays or car registration plates
  • pictures of your property where you can see the door number and street name
  • documentation that shows personal data, including the front of an envelope
  • objects of desire including new phones, electronic devices, high performance cars and designer clothes.

Adam Clarke Managing Director Rias said;

“Social media feels like a private space where we can freely share exciting new acquisitions with friends and family. However, whether consciously or unconsciously when our posts are read as a whole it’s possible for dishonest people to piece together very detailed information about our lives and use it to their advantage. Remember the saying ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ and be careful about what you post.”