So you innocently tell your “friends” where you’re going on an ordinary Saturday afternoon … only you do it on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook or Google Buzz. Online location-sharing networks are rapidly becoming more and more popular, potentially to the peril of your worldly possessions.
The potential for thieves to use updates on sites and apps like Twitter, Brightkite and Foursquare to break into and vandalize property continues to make news. The sites can be used to find lists of who’s where … and more importantly, who’s not at home.
The website PleaseRobMe.com is attempting to call attention to the dangers in telling everyone on the Internet where you are at any given time. PleaseRobMe.com filters through location sites to give you a live stream of people’s “check-ins.” To perform the search, you key in your search criteria and look under the “Recent Empty Homes” section for results.
You can get these same results on a Twitter search, so you may ask, what’s the point of this site? The creators of PleaseRobMe.com say it’s to show those who are in a rush to earn their badge on Foursquare that it may not be worth it.
A quick search for my city told me that one guy was at the local rec center doing laps for the first time since he was 14; another was traveling to Boston through the weekend; and another was at Target with the kids. I don’t know any of these people, but I know where they are.
So before your next tweet about how you’re on your way out for the evening or you check in on Foursquare to earn your “mayor” badge at the city’s hottest new club, you may want to think twice.