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Embrace New Technology

Casing the Web

Web sites such as Zillow.com provide photos of interiors of homes and neighborhood values, helping burglars identify lucrative properties and become familiar with interior layouts. With online services such as Google Street View, burglars can identify vulnerable areas of a home from miles away. Driving home the point that it's easy to find out when peoples' homes are empty by the tidbits they post on social media sites, pleaserobme.com used to publish tweets and other social media postings that showed how people broadcast information about their locations, trips, movie excursions and more.

Web 2.0 is changing our world and, sadly, assisting burglars too. Here are some of the ways burglars exploit new technologies:

Burglars look for over-sharing online. On Facebook, for example, a teen may post about a family vacation -- where they're going, when and for how long. A father may boast about taking the brood to the movies: "We'll let you know how we liked it!" A single working person may complain via Twitter about a long line to buy hot concert tickets.

These people have just invited burglars into their homes. Online profiles often include last names and location information, such as the place a person goes to school or works. Posting a relationship status lets thieves know how many people are likely to live in the home. For a burglar willing to do his or her homework, social media can yield a treasure trove of information about when and how long people are going to be away.

Geolocation may be the ultimate burglar research tool. These services provide fun ways to meet people and play treasure hunt-type games. The ability to tell exactly where the user is at any given moment is a dream for burglars, who can enter homes while monitoring the owner's location, and wrapping up the job when the service signals their return.

For more on crime and related topics, steal a glance at the links on the next page.

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