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Man Suspects Burglars Were Tipped Off by Out-of-Town Tweets



Whenever we go out of town, we all know to ask a friend or relative to stop by and pick up our mail and newspapers, so as not to advertise the fact that we're not at home. It should go without saying, then, that putting a sign on your front door that says "temporarily unoccupied" would be about as dumb as it gets. But, if you're careless about what you post online, you may be doing just that.

According to a Friday report by ABC News, East Mesa, Arizona's Israel Hyman recently discovered this the hard way when his home was robbed of thousands of dollars in computer equipment while he was out of town. When his father, Gerry, stopped by to check on the house, he found the back door jimmied open and his son's Mac Pro, a pair of 23-inch LCD screens, and other equipment missing. Israel believes that the thieves might have been tipped off by his Twitter messages, which also update his Facebook status. He told ABC News that anyone reading his Twitter updates (and Facebook) would have known he was leaving town.

Israel has no intention of quitting his favorite social networking services, though he says from now on he will be more careful about what information he posts online. Clearly, a good idea. We just hope the rest of you don't learn that lesson the hard way. [From: ABC News]

Facebook Crime and Punishment

    Blackmail
    Sending any personal info or incriminating pictures to someone on Facebook is a huge mistake for many reasons. One of the worst possible outcomes is getting blackmailed for money, sex, or, well, anything these sickos dream up. Really, whether they're using a fake profile or not, it's a horrible idea. Read up on the story of an 18-year-old who blackmailed 31 male classmates after he posed as a girl and asked for nude pictures. That's lesson enough.

    Impostors
    Sure, it can be harmless to impersonate a celeb online or create a fake profile for a movie character. But seriously, there's a definite line you shouldn't cross when pretending to be someone else and it can lead to dire consequences for you. Maybe it's not as extreme as the Moroccan man who was jailed for 43 days after creating a fake Facebook profile of a prince, but you never know. Just steer clear of it.

    Self-Incrimination
    Do we really have to explain this? Just look up the shoplifter who posed with her stolen merchandise, the many photos of drunk underage teens, and, most recently, the album featuring a couple who killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas.

    Suicide
    Social networking sites has been blamed for a lot of things, fairly and unfairly, but in our opinion, the worst offense has been their indirect involvement in suicides. Obviously, there are a lot of factors responsible in each case, but there does seem to be links between social networking and a rash of suicides, and obviously tehre's the case tragic of Megan Meier, who killed herself after a classmate's mom impersonated a teen boy and harassed her over Myspace.

    Murder
    We've reported on numerous incidents of people getting in trouble because of their online behavior. Now, people are becoming victims because of what they're doing on the Web too. In England, a man was convicted of murdering his estranged wife after she changed her relationship status to "single." So, be careful of who can see your profile and what you're doing, no matter how harmless it seems.

    Nigerian Scammers
    Oh, you thought this only happened via poorly worded emails, right? WRONG. Once people got wise to their old ways, these con men are turning to social networking sites for new targets. This time, they're hacking into people's accounts and impersonating them to ask for money, usually with some weird sob story. You can check out a transcript of one of these conversations here.

    Cooperation
    Even if the law isn't on a case, a victim, his friends, or empathetic strangers might be. Since it's easy to get word out for anything online, people are using blogs, forums, and social networking sites to help track down criminals. In one such case, a vehicle thief was tracked down by a bunch of anonymous car enthusiasts after the victim posted his story on a forum. In the end, they identified the guy through his Facebook profile.

    Self-Incrimination
    Do we really have to explain this? Just look up the shoplifter who posed with her stolen merchandise, the many photos of drunk underage teens, and, most recently, the album featuring a couple who killed and ate an endangered iguana in the Bahamas.

Tags: crime, facebook, robbery, top, twitter

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