A former burglar has warned homeowners that they are sitting ducks if they make any of these six security mistakes.
Jenny Radcliffe can get into anywhere she wants with little to no effort, but she's using her unusual skill set for good rather than gain.
Back in the 80s, Jenny began trespassing on empty properties in Liverpool - but she was never light fingered.
She told inews: "There was a big old empty house on the corner, a beautiful old house. We’d test ourselves to see if we could get in, not to steal anything. Just to have a look around because we were bored."
“He asked us to test out the new security system on his house,” she said. “I got in just by talking to his cleaner.
"People don’t suspect me, because I don’t appear threatening. But you never know if someone is who they say they are."
She's even managed to sneak into some places by simply 'holding a coffee and some files' - and she warned Brits to be more vigilant about who they are trusting.
Jenny has now become a burglar for hire - finding the weak spots in home security systems and making property owners feel safer in their pads.
She explained that a lot of us unknowingly make common security mistakes which are actually aiding criminals who are looking for an easy target, so she has now revealed her top tips for protecting your house:
Sharing too much on social media
Firstly and probably most obviously, Jenny pointed out that people share too much on social media and are accidentally giving criminals a run down of their every move.
She explained that back in the day, she would have to sit in pubs and earwig people's conversations to get information on their routines - but now, she can hop online and do some 'quick and easy research' instead.
The master burglar said: "People don’t realise that your online life is connected to your physical property.
"Every time we go on holiday, we post about it on social media. You wouldn’t have a sign on your front door saying ‘this house is unoccupied’ but we do in the digital realm."
Even asking for help online is leaving you wide open - as Jenny recently spotted a post about someone needing a handyman to fix their broken window, which she says is music to a criminals ears..
"Burglars trawl through community Facebook pages looking for details about people," she added.
Whether it's your timings for the school run or when you head out on a jog, letting people know your whereabouts on a regular basis is effectively advertising when your home will be empty to thieves.
Not protecting your CCTV system
Even if you sleep easier at night knowing you have a doorbell camera, Jenny warned that these are still vulnerable as clever crooks can take advantage of them.
She said: "Information is tracked and shared by providers, and any connected device can be hacked and this is a concern. Provided you take care of your own security and privacy around the actual device.
'They are a good tool overall in home security, provided people don’t see them as a substitute for alarms, other cautions and general common sense. Remember, burglars hate being slowed down, being noisy and being seen so anything that does one or all of these is very welcome."
Leaving around tools unattended and with easy access
Obviously, no one wants to encourage burglars to come and ransack their home - so don't leave any tools or equipment lying around which could help them break in.
Jenny said: "I’ve seen houses where they have left ladders outside or unlocked garages full of equipment that could be used to break in."
She encourages her clients to lock themselves out of their own properties before trying to break in with any supplies.
"See if there are any ‘operational openings’, such as weak locks or windows. That is what we call weak spots in security," the Brit continued.
Other mistakes include:
- Being too quick to trust your neighbours or cleaner with a spare key
- Forgetting simple deterrents (like having your lights on a timer to make it look like someone is home)
- Having foliage around the house which could be used to hide in - instead, keep a spacious perimeter around your home