According to a new survey conducted by Allstate Insurance, many Canadians are unwittingly putting their homes at risk when they travel. This is happening when users post their absences or whereabouts on the Internet.

The survey found that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of polled Quebecers have posted on their social media accounts that they were away from home.

Poll findings also showed that over half (52 per cent) of those aged 18 to 24 have shared they were traveling on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 43 per cent in the 25 to 34 age group have done the same.

"Although it can be so much fun to share our travel experiences with others, oversharing is a trend that can potentially put the safety of your home at risk," says Patrizia D'Ignazio, Allstate Agency Manager.


"Allstate Insurance would like to remind Quebecers to think twice before announcing their travel plans online in advance, or during their trip."

The advice comes at a time when cybercriminals are using information easily available to them online to plot break-ins on potential victims' homes.

According to the survey, sixty per cent of men and just over half of women (51 per cent) do not always deactivate their geolocation on their mobile device (smart phones or tablets) while traveling.

''Travelers may be excited to post a countdown leading up to a trip or getaway or that they are en route or have arrived at their destination, but they need to be mindful of what, when and how they share online,'' TV and radio show host, social media and travel expert, Francisco Randez added.

To help protect travelers from social media-savvy burglars, Allstate Insurance has partnered with  Randez  to offer some topline safety tips.
  • Be aware of your use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networks. Don’t publish your vacation departure dates on social media accounts and remind family members like kids not to do so either.
  • Check the privacy and security settings of your social media accounts, and use them to determine who has access to your personal information. You can set the parameters according to the highest possible level of security to protect your personal information and know which "friends" can access detailed personal information rather than "everybody" or "friends of friends."
  • Before posting pictures, ask yourself if they reveal too much information.
  • Avoid posting photos with geotagging. Most smart phones and many digital cameras automatically record the exact location where a photo was taken. If you view this photo online, geotagging can reveal the street address or that you are far away on vacation, making your home a target.
  • Disable geotagging functions and remove geotags on your older pictures using photo editing software.
  • Set an example and teach your children and other family members to be careful online.
  • Consider saving your photos for posting once you return home instead of throughout the trip, making it clear you are back home.
The full list of Francisco Randez's safety tips for homeowners on vacation can be viewed here .