POSTED: Thursday, July 7, 2011 - 3:17pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 - 1:12pm
BATON ROUGE, La (NBC33) — Can technology that you use every day make you more susceptible to crime? Police say "yes," but only if you aren't careful.
LSU student Sruti Bhatt uses social networking sites, like Facebook, to connect with her friends. "It's just a good way to keep in touch with everybody," she explains.
That includes using a tool that let's her "check-in" to different places throughout the day. "It's a good way to let your friends know where you are and all the cool places you get to go when you're out and about."
But checking-in online has a downside. "It tells you the exact time that you posted it, where you are, and it even let's you say who you're with," says Ashley Andrews. "It's just easy for people to locate you or find out where you're not."
Police say, something like that, can be dangerous in the wrong hands. "If you're checking into a movie theater, then you're not at home, and depending upon who has access to your particular information, it could lead to someone breaking into your house," says Sgt. Don Stone with the Baton Rouge Police Department.
Andrews says that's one of the reason why she chooses not to "check-in."
"I just don't think its necessary for everybody to know where you are," she says.
Police say its a good idea to make sure there are security settings in place on your social networking sites to keep unwanted eyes away from your business.
Bhatt says, she already does that. "Nobody can use my profile, unless they are my friend," she explains. "I do feel safe because I protect myself and I watch out for my well-being."
Stone says there are other dangers out there to be aware of. Most GPS devices now have a tool that allows the user to save their home address into the system.
"When I'm lost, I hit 'go home' and it take me there. It's great," says Andrews.
But what happens if that GPS gets stolen? "All the criminal has to do is turn it on, push 'home' and it's going to take them straight to your house," says Stone.
Stone suggests putting in a business or landmark into the "home" tool, instead of your actual address.
It's a concept Bhatt and Andrews had never thought of. "The world is very scary and with technology and everything, everyone thinks its so great, but there's a bad side to it also," says Andrews.
"I never think about the negative aspects that can come out of it," Bhatt agrees.
Police say the best thing you can do is protect your personal information, whether that's on your phone, your GPS, or your computer. Keep your GPS in a safe place and be careful about what you decide to share online.