Scroll through Denise Van Outen’s Instagram feed and you’ll find it full of lots of photos of the Celebrity Gogglebox star enjoying various trips away with family and friends. However, as Denise found out a couple of years ago, posting photos on social media doesn’t come without a risk.
The actress, who appeared as the Fox on The Masked Singer, was speaking on White Wine Question Time about a certain photo she posted on New Year’s Eve, 2018.
Van Outen, who was in Spain seeing in the New Year with boyfriend Eddie Boxshall and some friends, decided to post a photo at the beginning of the evening. Little did she know the consequences this would have.
“I took a photo, that was sort of quite early on in the evening at about seven o'clock, so it was just warming up for the evening,” she told podcast host Kate Thornton.
Of the photo, which shows the couple hugging while looking at the camera, Denise said she it was a ‘super happy’ moment.
The couple danced the night away, leaving the party in the early hours of the morning, which is when Van Outen noticed some missed calls on her phone.
She said: “It was late by the time we got back to our apartment and I had a couple of missed calls on my phone from a number, which was in Kent, which is where I used to live. I was like, ‘That's really weird but I'll just go to bed. I'll sleep on. It can't be anything urgent.’”
The missed caller was in fact her cleaner, phoning to say that Denise’s house had been burgled that night.
“She'd spent an hour or so cleaning downstairs,” Eddie explained of the situation. “Then when she went upstairs, it was obliterated.”
It wasn’t until the police came and spoke to Denise that the TV presenter put two and two together.
“When the police came, they turned around and said to me, 'Would anybody have known that you were away?'” she told Thornton.
She continued: “You know what happened? The inevitable! They [the burglars] had been looking on my Instagram, had seen that we've been away and took the opportunity… and went in and robbed my house and took loads of my stuff, ransacked the place.
“I posted the photo at something like seven o'clock and my house was raided at seven thirty!”
While she hates to admit that Eddie was right telling her not to post photos while they away, she says she’s definitely learned her lesson – and she hopes others do too, as she believes it can impact your insurance.
“When we're away, we never post anything,” she admitted to Kate. “It's a lesson for all people as well.
“Another thing people need to know is that you're not covered on your house insurance if you're posting lots of pictures on social media when you're on holiday. You're showing your house is vulnerable and empty, so don't ever post on holiday!”
Malcom Tarling, Chief Media Relations Officer from the Association of British Insurers, said that while he’s not heard of any policies being affected by photos being uploaded to social media, he does advise being cautious about when you post.
“While we cannot comment on individual cases, we have not come across any domestic burglary claims declined due to the policyholder having posted on social media that they were away from their property,” he said.
“We would always urge caution on this however - think twice about what you post on social media, and who could have access to it.”
A spokesperson from Aviva, also advises that many policies have limits on when how long you’re property is left unoccupied.
“Most policies also have a limit on unoccupancy – typically 30 or 60 days – so if you’re going to be away for longer, you’ll need to tell your insurer,” they advise.