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Be careful of what you share on social sites

March 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
How much do you trust your Facebook friends?A woman believes her seemingly innocent status update on the popular social networking site led to her house being burglarized.

The burglary was caught on security video that McMullen had running in her home. She believes one suspect is somebody in her network of friends on Facebook.

The pair of burglars stole $10,000 worth of McMullen's belongings in just 13 minutes. The security video shows one suspect going back into the bedroom while the other suspect takes her laptop.

The men broke in shortly after McMullen left for a concert, which started at 8 p.m.

"I posted that on my Facebook page: who the band was, where we were going," said McMullen.

She thought nothing of the timing until she posted the burglary video on Facebook. Immediately there was a break in the case. One of her 500 Facebook friends recognized one of the suspects. McMullen says he's another Facebook friend she hadn't seen in 20 years.

"I did not recognize him at first, but after seeing pictures now, it's definitely him," said McMullen.

Police believe her Facebook status update tipped off the burglars.

It's stories like this that inspired the Web site PleaseRobMe.com, which cautions against over-sharing your information on the Web by revealing people's whereabouts, taken from social tracking sites such as Foursquare and Brightkite.

Matt Chapman was ripped off after tweeting and posting on Facebook that he was going camping.

"I never considered the dangers or the ramifications until we were burglarized," said Chapman.

Facebook recommends users pick their friends just as carefully on Facebook as they do in real life and use the privacy tools to restrict more sensitive updates to their closest friends.

"I will never ever again put that I'm going anywhere on Facebook," said McMullen.

Facebook has made changes to its privacy settings. When you update your status or upload a photo you control who sees it, either friends, friends of your friends, or everyone on the Internet.

The suspect in McMullen's case has not been arrested. Police are still investigating.


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