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ABI warns over online burglary risk

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Homeowners can reduce their risk of a burglary and avoidable home insurance claims by not revealing any holiday plans they make for the summer on social networking websites, experts say.

According to the Association of British Insurers, a growing number of criminals are using the internet to find potential targets as studies show more than a third of social network users disclose their travel and holiday plans online.

It cited one instance where a man tried to ransack a family's home in revenge after finding out on Facebook when they would be away.

A criminal gang in the US is reported to have raided 50 homes after searching Facebook for holiday plans to see when a property was likely to be unoccupied.

Insurance claims for home burglary were at the highest level during peak summer holidays last year. Insurers were dealing with an average of 725 claims a day during this period, said the ABI.

Its director of general insurance and health, Nick Starling said: "Unoccupied summer homes are already more vulnerable to burglary, without advertising online that you are away.

"With criminals increasingly going online to access personal details, avoid divulging personal information, such as your holiday plans, online."

© Press Association 2011