Vancouver, BC– An estimated 18% of BC residents plan to take a vacation away during the month of March, according to a poll conducted last year by CIBC through Harris/Decima, Better Business Bureau says scammers are counting on that.
BBB of Mainland British Columbia is reminding consumers to be careful about the details of vacation plans that are shared through social media websites like Twitter and Facebook, which can provide a wealth of information for criminals and other scam artists. Names, family information, friends, contact information, even hobbies and interests can help thieves target their next victim.
“Posting on your status, ‘Lying in the Beach in Mexico right now,’ is like putting an Open House sign on your front door with a message like come on in and rob me,” says Danielle Primrose, President and CEO of the BBB serving Mainland BC. “Scam artists peruse social media sites looking for personal information that will help them deploy targeted scams to your loved ones.”
Better Business Bureau offers the following tips for consumers taking a vacation during this upcoming spring break:
Think first before you post. Restrict what information you or your family place on social media sites. Keep specific details of your vacation off your site until you return.Ask the question: Would you want this information seen by everyone in your friends or followers’ list, forever? What could someone do with the information you are providing?
Review the privacy settings of your social media sites. Restrict the access to information you provide, including status updates, to only those you trust. Consider defriending people you do not know well or at all.
Put a vacation stop on your mail and newspaper. Contact your newspaper delivery and mail services and ask them to hold or cancel delivery while you are away. Mail or newspapers stockpiling at your front door tells people your home is empty.
Safety proof your home. Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Keep hedges and bushes around your home trimmed, so burglars don’t have places to hide. Lock your doors, even if you are away for a short amount of time. According to ADT, which conducted a Safety Data Index through a survey of Americans, 67% surveyed agree they do more to protect their homes when they are going away for a night than when they are just leaving for a few hours. But, according to the FBI, more than half (53%) of home burglaries happen during the day, so homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home.
Contact your credit card company to tell them where you are going and when you will return. Credit card companies will often monitor your purchases; if they see unusual transactions, they may put a hold on your account, which might leave you trying to prove your identity oversees so you can pay your hotel room.
Simone Lis, Vice President
Better Business Bureau