A growing type of crime has been on the rise: burglars targeting influencers who upload photos of their designer clothes, luxury holidays and sparkly watches.
One of the victims, Kieran Hamilton was awoken by two machete-wielding men screaming at him, demanding money, drugs and watches. "I got stabbed because of my Instagram presence," he explains over the phone.
A finances Internet star and criptocurrency trader, his Twitter and Instagram profiles reflect his luxe lifestyle: plush house, holiday snaps, overflowing shopping bags, sports cars, champagne and Rolex watches. In the end, the thieves took his laptop, phone and his dog, Rambo.
According to a 2018 report, one in 12 have reported a burglary after posting on social media, with more than half admitting they had location tagging turned on. Another survey found 78% of burglars use social media as a tracking method to see their targets. A burglary ring in the USA used social media to track wealthy people who shared their valuable art collections online.
Saudi influencer Hitham was mugged coming out of a London restaurant, while the home of YouTube star PewDiePie was robbed before Christmas. This after he'd posted a video to his fans urging them to stop turning up at his house. Ex-footballer John Terry decided to announce to his 3.4 million Instagram followers he and his family were on a skiing holiday, burglars thanked him by invading his empty home with axes and stealing £400,000 worth of items.
Crimes related to posting images of your lifestyle online – often dubbed "Insta-Bragging" – have become such an issue that insurance companies warn insurers they may stop paying out on some theft cases. This is because a standard contents insurance contract has a reasonable care clause, i.e. if you announce that your house is full of super expensive goodies, and you're off sunning yourself on a yacht in another country, that could qualify as being careless.
Kim Kardashian was famously robbed at gunpoint in Paris in 2016 after being tracked online.
However influencers claim that while some people think they’re posting to show off, it‘s just to document success. Adding that people can still look at all that negatively, but social media is part of their job and brand. Ultimately, they can’t stop and can only be careful, and have higher security.