Social media serving as advertisement for burglars

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You’re smart and avoided the holiday crowds by going on vacation this weekend or next.

But while you’re getting the oil changed and checking the air in the tires – don’t sing like a canary and tweet your plans. It’s akin to hanging a sign on the front door: Headed to Vegas, house vacant, have at it.

“People don’t realize they’re vulnerable,” said Christina Loznicka, regional communication consultant for Allstate Insurance Company. “But almost anybody can follow you on Twitter or Facebook.”

During residential burglaries, the most common stolen items are jewelry and cash – and, in Colorado, expensive mountain bikes. The average Colorado homeowner claim after a burglary is $2,512.

Rather than posting a vacation countdown of when and where you’re traveling, just post a nonspecific update that you’ll be offline for awhile, she said.

Loznicka also recommends that people refrain from sharing vacation tidbits and photos until after they return home.

“Never post your home address on a social networking site,” she said. “But don’t assume that because your information isn’t online that a thief can’t find you.”

And, put household lights on timers and ask neighbors to park in your driveway to “keep that lived-in look.”

Maximize your chances of returning home to a safe situation – and live it up while on vacation.