Security Firm Offers Facebook-Sitting Security Service

An Essex-based security firm is offering to post fake updates on Facebook and Twitter while clients are on holiday

An Essex-based security firm has offered to “house-sit”  Facebook and Twitter pages, to prevent burglars becoming aware that its clients’ houses might be vacant.

Precreate Solutions, based in Chelmsford, said it has begun working with existing customers to post Twitter and Facebook messages while they are on holiday, following reports that burglars are using Facebook to spot properaties likely to be vacant, and insurance companies may increase premiums for social media users.


The company said that several of its customers had been robbed with the help of Facebook, including a case in Hampstead Garden in which a household was robbed of £300,000 worth of art.

That household was broken into during a two-week holiday and again after the couple’s son tweeted about his sports day.

“Putting up a Facebook posting of photographs on a beach to 300-400 ‘friends’ is like leaving an advert on your door to a burglar telling him when you will be out,” said Precreate director Gary Jackson, in a statement. “We are now going to run clients’ social media while they are away to give an appearance that there is still a presence at their homes and business premises.”

Precreate, which offers services such as uniformed security guards and executive and VIP protection, said it works with clients to learn their routines and then designs the post updates to match those habits during holidays.

Posts might read something like: “Sebastian is having a piano lesson at home with his new teacher and he’s really coming on well,” or “I’m waiting in for the gardener who is coming round to fix the trellis at 3.30pm,” according to an article in the Evening Standard.

Crime rise

Precreate currently offers the service as a free add-on for existing clients, but said it is considering a stand-alone offering for around £50 per month, the Standard said.

Over the past five years, while Facebook has grown dramatically, it has been linked to an astonishing number of crimes, according to a recent report in the Daily Mail.

Facebook was linked to over 100,000 crimes in the UK, according to high-ranking police officers in 16 forces, who responded to Freedom of Information Act requests from the Mail. Since January this year, 7,545 calls from the public expressed concerns with the social networking site. The figures mark a substantial increase from the 1,411 calls received in 2005 when Facebook’s popularity first began to grow.

According to the report, callers have informed officers of various crimes, alleging wrongdoings ranging from acts of terrorism and sudden deaths to missing pets and malicious messages.

Police stats also reveal that Facebook is used by criminals to make threats, intimidate, bully and harass. “These figures are an urgent reminder that we must increase our personal safety settings in cyberspace,” warned a spokesman for children’s charity Kidscape at the time.

In Feburary police in Reading said they would start sending warning messages to Facebook bullies and their parents, in a bid to curb social network-related crimes among school students.