UAE police say posting holiday snaps on social media could encourage break-ins

Dubai Police have a free home security service for people who are travelling

Police have also put up public notices in some Dubai areas that alert intruders to the presence of security cameras. Photo: Silvia Razgova / The National
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Police in Abu Dhabi and Dubai have warned people about the dangers of posting holiday plans or images from their travels on social media after an influencer had his house burgled while on vacation.

Officers reminded residents to avoid sharing updates on social media platforms while on holiday because of the increased risk of burglaries and break-ins.

“Be sure not to share any information about your travel on social media, so as not to expose your home to robbery during your absence,” Abu Dhabi Police said on its social media channels on Tuesday.

Dubai Police issued a similar warning to residents travelling this summer.

It is a serious problem if the social media account is public, as thieves can obtain all information about the home location
Col Saeed Al Hajri, Dubai Police

Col Saeed Al Hajri, director of the Cyber-Crimes Department in Dubai Police, said a social media influencer had his property burgled after he posted the date of his travels from the UAE on his Instagram page.

“It is a serious problem if the social media account is public, as thieves can obtain all information about the home location," Col Al Hajri told The National.

He said other personal details, such as names and data, can be exploited by criminals to use stolen credit cards.

“For example, the Snapchat platform has a map that can expose your location," Col Al Hajri said.

"If you announce that you are going away on vacation, you are basically informing people that your home is unattended and, therefore, an easy target for a break-in."

He said people should restrict posting on social media platforms before travelling and use the highest privacy settings so that only trusted friends or family members can see their updates.

“Some people take pictures and clips for their preparation to leave for vacation or at the airport and share it on their social media accounts,” Col Al Hajri said.

"Remember that any information posted can be watched by friends as well as burglars.

“Please be smart about what you post online and don't give burglars a reason to make you their next victim. They can break into your home while you are enjoying the holiday.

“If you're going on vacation, be careful not to let the world know on social media.”

Free home security service

Dubai Police have a home security service for people who are on holiday or leaving their homes unattended for long periods of time.

Under the free programme, residents can sign up and enter details like their home location and time of travel so that police can send patrols to check on the property for any suspicious activities.

Residents in the emirate can register for the service on the Dubai Police app.

The home security service was launched to tackle potential thefts and burglaries during the summer when residents often travel for lengthy periods to their home countries.

The police have also put up public notices in areas like Mirdif that alert intruders about the presence of security cameras.

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