Millions of people prepping for Christmas in the UK are putting themselves and their property at risk of theft.
Sharing images and videos across social media platforms of gifts and decor could lead to burglary, and with nine million #ChristmasDecor hashtags on Instagram and 586.2 million TikTok views, security retailers Safe.co.uk has highlighted the potential damages.
From sharing gifts under the tree, to notifying burglars a home is empty and giving away the layout of the property, celebrating Christmas online could prove to be catastrophic in the long-run, and with less than two months and two paydays until the big day, many Brits are expected to start their festive planning this week.
Celebrating with family and keeping everything as a surprise is the safest way to enjoy the holidays, especially when considering the trouble a simple social media post could cause. In fact, 72%* of parents admit to posting their Christmas decor on social media and 66%* confessed they weren't even aware of the consequences.
Safe recommends not sharing the following, with tips on how to post safely this Christmas:
Christmas Gifts: Whether the image or video showcases the gifts nestled under the tree, or being purchased and wrapped, you’re instantly showing a burglar that those items are going to be lying around and available in the property for the whole lead up to Christmas day. Keep gifts under wraps, and when posting a photo of the tree, ensure that any presents are not in view.
Family Reunions: With last year’s Christmas restricting visitations for many, family reunions will be on the cards all over the country. Posting with relatives or friends will advertise the fact that you are not at home. To be cautious, avoid checking in to locations on social media, post any images when you are back at home, and when you’re away, ensure you have security lights, and timed lights on inside, to give the illusion that people are in.
Property Layout: Showcasing home transformations and winter wonderlands is a common social media post, however, as well as displaying any decorations, the layout of the property is also on show on TikTok videos and Instagram Reels. This will give burglars the chance to scope the house and plan their route for swift access to the items they want to take. When sharing any photos, try to focus in on certain items such as the table décor or Christmas tree, that way the Christmas cheer is shared without mapping out the layout of each room.
Outdoors and Door Close Ups: Door decorations are becoming more and more extravagant by the year, as well as wreaths, bows, lights and accessories are used to create the perfect Christmas home entrance. However, close-ups of the door can show the locks and door material, allowing burglars to plan any tools, as well as their approach to breaking in. Try posting close-ups of any outdoor decorations such as reindeer statues or lights, rather than revealing the barrier that stands in the way of thieves, and the outdoor layout of the house.
Shopping: In the run up to Christmas, prepping for Christmas can often be a stressful yet exciting time. Avoid sharing stories of any queues to shops, or any online orders as it could indicate the items that you will have in your house, waiting to be opened in eight weeks-time, which is a big window for thieves to make their move. Sharing any content days and weeks after it happened is better than doing it live, try posting days after Christmas, so burglars know it isn’t currently happening and now won’t be the ideal time to try to steal.
Anthony Neary, managing director for safe.co.uk said “Christmas is undoubtedly an exciting time. However, it takes a lot of energy and money, and burglars are very conscious and active throughout December to spoil the fun. As we’re edging closer to the festive season, we wanted to advise families on how to post safely on social media, whilst not giving away any clues or signs to thieves.
“Innocent posting risks aren’t being considered as millions are sharing vital information about their properties and its contents on the likes of Instagram and TikTok, and we think it’s important to be one step ahead of thieves at all times, so to not have to deal with the pain a burglary can cause.”