A tweet could lead to a robbery

By: Joel Schipper Email
By: Joel Schipper Email

Twitter is all the rage these days.

For those of you who don't know what it is, it's a short, mass text message that is sent to several people at once letting folks know what you're up to.

And while many are careful when it comes to giving out personal information, they are a lot less careful about the information they give out in a tweet.

But it's important to be careful because a tweet about your whereabouts could leave you vulnerable.

Lots of people tweet to let friends know where they are, but that could be a very public invitation for trouble.

All it took was one tweet and 140 characters to let the world know that Israel Hyman was in Kansas City and, more importantly, that he was not home.

Israel's father Jerry stopped by his son's home while he was away and found someone had broken in.

Israel later tweeted that the thief or thieves stole his Mac Pro computer, two displays, and a printer.

Tech analyst Rob Enderle says you can't get too personal on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter; it's just downright risky.

"There's just certain things you need to be very careful with. Advertising on any social network that you're going to be away is just asking to be burglarized," says Enderle.

Donna Berry is an active Facebook user who says, "I don't think I will be mentioning when or where. Having your house broken into is definitely worrisome."

Police in Arizona say they're not 100-percent sure if the tweet is what led to the burglary.

Israel Hyman says he'll continue to tweet, but he says from now on he will be more careful about the information he shares.

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself from possible predators on all social networking sites, including Twitter, Facebook, and myspace.

As we mentioned in this story, don't say that you're going out somewhere; instead, try to post where you went after you get back.

That especially applies when you are leaving for long periods of time, like on a vacation.

You should also avoid mentioning if you live alone or if you'll be home alone.

Finally, remember it's about being sociable, not divulging every secret in your life. Once things are sent out in cyberspace, it's there forever.

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