Social Media: Easier To Keep In Touch, Harder To Secure
Today more than ever, high net worth individuals are looking for some type of security, and rightfully so. With todays hyper-connected world of Instagram, Facebook, and smart phones, privacy seems to be a thing of the past. This creates a unique situation where social media is a necessity for people in the entertainment industry, and smart phones make that hand portable. However, WHAT goes on there must be scrutinized. As a security professional these are things you must realize and plan for. Something as simple as a client’s Instagram post can immediately raise the risk level exponentially.
The results of this scenario can be seen in the case of Kyle Richards (Umansky) in 2017. Mrs. Richards traveled to Aspen, Colorado in the winter of 2017 with her family.
As many do, Mrs. Richards posted the above picture letting all her fans know what was going on in her life that day. The problem? A team of burglars saw this post and seized this opportunity knowing her LA home would likely be empty. A simple look back at previous posts could also give these individuals a pretty good idea about who resides in the house, if they’re with her in Aspen, if she had dogs, etc. They basically did their “homework”, in a matter of minutes from the comfort of their couch, or a café on their smartphone. The result was Mrs. Richards was relieved of over $1 million jewelry, clothing, and purses. The truth is, while it makes the clients life easier, it makes it easier for remote counter surveillance as well.
How could this have been avoided? Well this is where the security you hire matters. Working in this field I’ve seen bodyguards, as well as complete teams traveling with a client, have NO formal training in protection. Traveling with their high-risk clients to an area where they are well known, and the team doesn’t have a single person with experience working in the region. Not to mention training in surveillance and counter surveillance.
Something as simple as suggesting to the client to install cameras at the property so that an alert is sent to the bodyguard’s phone when motion is detected. That way they can alert the authorities and handle the situation all while not burdening the client with undue stress. Or simply informing them and following with “… but don’t worry, I’ve already got it handled sir/ma’am.”. Or suggesting that possibly the client wait until they are at least on their way home to post about the trip, that way they’re not giving anyone looking to target the residence the time to formulate and execute a plan. Bottom line is the client expects their detail to be well rounded experts, it is our job to reduce the stresses of security concerns in their life.
Rest assured that with Sparrow, we have compiled a group of individuals with thousands of hours of formal training, as well as international experience in protection. Understanding the possible security concerns with social media, we always employ a government certified Intelligence Analyst, who also happens to have a “Social Media Intelligence Analyst” certification. That way we can identify any concerns and monitor things to make sure you, your things, and your family are as safe as possible.
That’s it for me, time to stop procrastinating and get outside to get this morning run done. Stay safe.