POLICE WARNING - Upgrade online privacy settings

LOCAL police have warned residents to upgrade their social media privacy settings after a Tamworth resident’s online status update is believed to have played a hand in her car being stolen.

Tamworth police say a resident in Jill St, South Tamworth, could have mentioned via her social media site that she was going out for the night when the incident occurred in January.

She came home to find her home broken into and her Nissan Pulsar missing from her driveway.

Police reported the keys had been left inside the unlocked house.

A search for her car over the next few days failed to locate the vehicle.

More than 55 per cent of Australians are reported to use social media on a regular basis, with sites such as Twitter and Facebook having the largest market share.

Changes to Facebook in 2011 mean that users can “tag” themselves or friends in locations, a handy tool for would-be thieves who may have access to pages with lower security settings.

Oxley LAC crime prevention officer Tracey Freeman said people needed to be aware that social media sites were an open forum and could be checked by anyone.

“Some Facebook friends may not actually be your friends and unless your security settings are tight, you may not know who is actually reading your posts,” Constable Freeman said.

“Increase your privacy settings, and make sure only your friends can see your page or site, not friends of friends.

“If you do get a friend request, make sure you know someone before you add them.”

She also said it was important to censor what kind of information was posted on your page.

“Write or post about something after the fact, not before. For example if you are going to the pub, write about it the morning after, not before you leave.”

Constable Freeman said although it was unlikely thieves would be monitoring social media sites, people should be aware of the risks of posting information online.

“You can put yourself at risk by putting personal information such as phone numbers, your address or location or posting photos online.”

Constable Freeman said a basic rule of thumb was to advertise only the information you were prepared to make public.

“If you wouldn’t put your diary online, then don’t post about where you will be.”

Tamworth Police are asking for the public’s assistance to locate the vehicle, registration VEE 085, and to contact Tamworth Police Station if it was sighted.

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