Website lets crooks know when you're not home - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Website lets crooks know when you're not home

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A warning to be careful before you post online where you're dining or when you're leaving on vacation.

Beware, there's a new website out there, called www.pleaserobme.com, which pulls that information from social networking sites for all to see.

The website was launched just last week. Some are now thinking twice about just how personal they get with their postings.

Trevor Dickerson admits he's guilty of letting people know his exact whereabouts through twitter and foursquare, two social networking sites.

"I post where I am all the time," he said. "One week I was the top foursquare poster in all of Richmond."

Wednesday night, after posting his dinner location, Dickerson says a stranger called him out of the blue at the restaurant, criticizing his postings on twitter.

"I didn't really fear for my safety or anything but it kind of made me kind of uneasy," he said.

It's that kind of information that's fueling the new website pleaserobme.com. It shows posts that appear on twitter, under the headline of recent empty homes.

"You don't want to give criminals opportunity and that's what this kind of social networking can do," said James Mercante of the Richmond Police Department.

Richmond police say they're not aware of any burglaries stemming from the web but that doesn't mean it can't or hasn't happened.

"When you talk about safety the Richmond Police Department wants everybody to lock up their cars lock up their homes lock up their garages and lock up their online information as well," he said.

Dickerson says it's an eye-opener and now he'll try to be more careful.

"I definitely do think there's still some kind of risk I'm going to think twice after seeing how this data can be used where I'm checking into especially if I'm going to be gone for a long period of time," Dickerson said.

It even states on the pleaserobme.com website, the intention is to bring awareness to internet safety and how people use social networking sites.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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