Stop the Crime: Five Surprising Ways Thieves and Burglars Know You’re on Vacation

Source

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

A long vacation can provide a relaxing and refreshing break from your regular routine unless it’s marred by a break-in at your home or theft of your luggage. You may take the standard precautions of stopping mail delivery and installing timers so your lights come off and on as though you were home. But thieves have other ways to know you’re out. Find out what those are and how you can defend against crime.

Social Media

Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs are a popular way to share your trips and pics with your friends and relatives. However, thieves and burglars also patrol social media to look for travelers who have left their homes empty. A Google search with a few well-chosen parameters can locate these trip announcements. If you post updates on your vacation constantly, criminals can monitor the status of your return and go back to your home several times.

Defense: Post your vacation pictures and information after you get back. If you must keep your friends and relatives updated, set up a private Facebook page or group that’s open only to members.

Source

Internet Security Cameras

If you use an Internet-enabled camera to keep an eye on your house, then any hacker can do the same thing. The same thing is true if your computer has a built-in camera and is connected 24-hours-a-day to the web. Anyone with know-how can activate that device without your knowledge so they can peek at your private spaces. This article is not going to help criminals by explaining how camera-hacking is achieved. Sadly, that information is easy enough to find with a Google search.

Defense: Turn any Internet-enabled cameras off if you’re leaving for an extended period. If you need to leave your computer on for some reason, and it has a built-in camera, put a yellow sticky or some other cover over the lens.

Source

Luggage Tags

Because your luggage tag contains your name and address, it identifies your ownership and allows air carriers and hotels to return your belongings if you lose them. But they also reveal to thieves the location of a home that won’t have its occupants for a while. Less sophisticated criminals may try to cut off your tags while you’re distracted. Smarter thieves can just take a picture of your tags with their smartphone cameras while standing next to you in the check-in line. Others may use zoom cameras to get shots from a distance.

Defense: Put your company name and business address on the tag, so you’re bags can still reach you at work if they get lost. You can also use the name of friends or relative who will be at their homes while you’re on vacation though ask for permission first.

Return Messages

You put your email account, cell phone message and home phone message in Vacation mode because you don’t like to leave people hanging. For email, this means anyone who sends you something receives an automated response telling them that you’re gone and when you’ll return. Your recorded voice messages may say the same thing. Of course, this tells any thief who is checking up on you that you’re gone.

Defense: Don’t set your accounts to Vacation mode or otherwise change your recordings. Instead, forward all your messages to a friend, relative or co-worker who can manage your accounts for you. Give them explicit instructions on how to handle different types of contacts, from ignoring them to giving neutral responses to stating that you’re inaccessible due to an important project.

Source

Please Clean Room

To signal the housekeepers of your hotel that you’re out of your room, you usually hang the Please Clean Room sign on the knob. Unfortunately, that message also gets broadcast to someone who may clean your room of all your possessions before the maids ever get there.

Defense: Do not use this sign at all. Or better yet always put the Do Not Disturb on your doorknob. Whenever you leave, inform that front desk that you’re out for the day but that you’re leaving that sign on the door. That way, the maid will know to come and clean your room.

More by this Author


Comments 29 comments

kikalina profile image

kikalina 4 years ago from Europe

Very useful hub especially the tip of the address on the luggage! thanks for SHARING


zEric7x 4 years ago

Useful advice. These are things I probably would not of thought of myself. I dont usually go on long trips though.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Very useful, and especially the one about the luggage tags, I would never have thought of that! rated up! cheers nell


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 4 years ago from SE MA

Interesting. I work from home, so couldn't use the business address IDE, but fortunately don't travel much any more.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

I'm glad you found this useful. Thanks for stopping by.


hoteltravel profile image

hoteltravel 4 years ago from Thailand

These are very useful. Thieves are getting more high-tech and we need to raise our awareness level to avoid getting duped. Voting up and useful.


Jakob Barry profile image

Jakob Barry 4 years ago

These were great tips. There's so much more to worry about in today's digital/electronic world. It's a good idea to put the address of a friend or family member on luggage instead of your own when no one's home. It's probably just as good an idea to travel very light and only take a carry on :-)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

I hope these ideas will keep your stuff safe.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

Great hub! Good information everyone should think about before they go on vacation. Thank you for SHARING! :)Voted up and useful.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Some wonderful security tips there Alocsin! I would never have thought of the security camera or luggage tags as being a security risk ... very interesting.

Thanks for SHARING.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Great tips here. Next time I go out of town, I'll revisit this hub and follow your advice. Voted up and useful.


JKenny profile image

JKenny 4 years ago from Birmingham, England

Good article, with some very useful tips, especially those regarding the use of social media and the internet. It serves as a reminder to always be vigilant and wary of who you reveal information to. Voted up.


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 4 years ago from Oklahoma City

You've provided eye-opening information on how enterprising thieves can be. It's so useful that you've also provided suggestions for defenses against such possibilities.

Voted up and SHARED.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you found these helpful.


PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

very good tips, aurelio... might I ask how you know them? ;-)

very simple and easy. Helpful.


nenytridiana profile image

nenytridiana 4 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

Wow. I've never thought about them patrol in the social network. It is purely fresh for me. A very useful information, and great thought. Thank you alocsin.


chspublish profile image

chspublish 4 years ago from Ireland

Thanks for the very good, sensible tips all round.


Kristine Manley profile image

Kristine Manley 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

I will most certainly use these ideas. I like the idea of putting your company name and business address on your luggage tags. Great tips!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Purely theoretical speculation on my part, PDX. I was never indicted ;)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks all for stopping by. I hope these spare tips spare you some gift.


algarveview profile image

algarveview 4 years ago from Algarve, Portugal

Hello, Alocsin, very interesting hub. What you say makes perfect sense, I had never thought about it, I mean, cameras, luggage, everything... It's a bit scary also. I think I'll be more aware from now on and will take your advices into consideration. Voted up and useful! Thanks for SHARING! And have a good day!


rmcleve profile image

rmcleve 4 years ago from Woodbridge, VA

Good points! Many of these were things we were told when we moved overseas with the US government. We were even broken into one time. The thief had been watching our house long enough to know when we should be out. Little did he know that I was home!

Always pay attention to the information you reveal to the world. Think about how it may be interpreted for good or bad and try to take care of yourself! Be safe.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Very useful tips but unfortunately I haven't been able to give myself a vacation in a long time. Will surely remember to use it when I do.

Voting up, useful and sharing for the benefit of those who are on the move frequently.


jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Great research, very useful information for everybody.

Share with followers.


WhydThatHappen 4 years ago

Very clever methods here- thanks for the heads up. Photos of my tags never would have crossed my mind!


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

These are very useful tips. I have made luggage tags that do not show the information until the flap is open. I hadn't thought about it as a theft deterrent device, but I guess it is.


Melis Ann profile image

Melis Ann 4 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

Great advice for travelers once again. I have always been careful with social media and it has been surprising to see so many people posting vacation information. I never thought about the luggage tags - wow. That seems so obvious now. Thanks and sharing this!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

That's very wise, Millionaire Tips.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 4 years ago from United States

Hah! Now I know. It's a very useful hub. Learning from this, I am now able to make ways on how to outsmart those burglars and protect myself and my property. I like reading this. :)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working