The crooks caught by their foolish Facebook posts

Caught by Facebook: from compensation frauds to benefits cheats and thieves


Caught by Facebook

The internet has apparently made catching criminals harder - as they can hide in the dark corners of the web. For one group of crooks and fraudsters, however, the opposite is true. Evasion is hardly their forte, so for this group, Facebook has simply become a way to accidentally expose themselves.

See also: Five ways to use social media to sell your home

See also: Social media is leaving you vulnerable to scammers

It has become a technique used to catch people who are lying about their benefits. Take Chanice Bowen, a 25-year-old from South Wales. She told the benefits office in January 2013 that her boyfriend had moved out of the house, and she was a single parent, then she continued claiming the extra benefits for the next three years.

She thought that by not telling the authorities that the couple were still together, she'd get away with it. However, she forgot that by getting married in October 2013, and posting her wedding album on Facebook, she might run into difficulties when someone at the benefits office decided to check her Facebook page

Likewise, Joy Taylor, 32, claimed benefits because she was disabled and unable to leave her home in County Durham - following an accident in 2007. A court heard in 2015 that the claim had been genuine for the first two years, but after that, she had recovered well enough to get around. She got away with the fraud for years - until officials checked her Facebook page, and found a string of photos of her at gigs and music festivals.

Its not just benefit cheats who get caught this way. Foolish criminals come in all sorts of guises.

There are those who announce their plans before they start. Andrew Hennells, a 31-year-old from Gaywood in King's Lynn posted the words Doing. Tesco. Over. on Facebook in 2015 - before popping out to steal £410 from a Tesco in King's Lynn. He was caught in a local pub by police 15 minutes later - still carrying a knife - and was jailed for four years.

There are those who take to Facebook mid-crime. A 19-year-old broke into a home in Martinsburg, Virginia, and decided to log onto the computer he found in order to update his Facebook status. Unfortunately for him, he left the computer and failed to log out, so when the homeowner got back, all she had to do was start up her computer to discover the identity of the burglar.

Finally, there are those who boast about it afterwards. Benjamin Robinson, 30, and Daniel Hutchinson, 24 were caught by police in Skipton, who checked their car after they were stopped for speeding, and found £3,000 in cash. The pair had stolen it from gambling machines, and they might have got away with it, if it wasn't for the selfies they took grinning by the machines - and the ones they posted on Facebook.

Ten unfortunate criminal mistakes

Ten unfortunate criminal mistakes