A woman's Facebook whinge about wanting to leave work became an invitation to burgle for a "friend".

Leisha Tadema, from Rotorua, had her house cleaned out as she plodded through a job she hated, counting down on Facebook the hours she had left.

"Three hours to go and then I can go home," she wrote in one status update.

One of the people on her friends list, with whom she had never spoken in person, used that information to plan the raid on Ms Tadema's house.

The burglar took the television set, a digital camera, hair straightener, cosmetics, alcohol, clothes and jewellery.

When Ms Tadema arrived home with her 4-year-old son to find a smashed window and her valuables stolen, she did not immediately think of her Facebook posts. But when police arrested a woman for the burglary, it clicked.

"That little bitch," Ms Tadema said. "She was a Facebook friend, obviously, but we had never spoken two words in real life. We knew each other through her boyfriend."

Mrs Tadema said she could see now how her activity on Facebook could have caused her problems.

"I was in a job I really hated, so I was on Facebook quite a bit at work," Ms Tadema said.

"Everybody does it, and they put on there that they're on holiday or away for a week. Next thing, they'll come home and they're robbed."

But she said popularity now takes a back seat to security.

"I ... deleted a whole lot of people just making up [numbers of] friends on Facebook - I don't talk to them, I don't need them."

Ms Tadema also has some wry advice for burglars: don't sell stolen goods to pawn shops and leave your real name and details.

One shop said it had seen the jewellery but did not buy it.

Ms Tadema asked police to investigate, and the shop came up with the jewellery and the seller's details.

NetSafe research manager John Fenaughty said Facebook updates were like leaving notes at a bus stop, unless you fine-tuned your privacy settings.

It took only a minute to set up a list of people who were "friends" on Facebook but who you did not know well enough to trust.

Five steps to stop dodgy people seeing your Facebook updates:
1. Click "Account" on the top-right corner, then "Edit Friends".

2. Click "Create a List" and type "dodgy".

3. Pick which people you do not trust and click "Create List".

4. Start writing a status update and click the padlock next to "Share", then "Custom".

5. Under "Hide this from", type "dodgy" and click "Make this my default setting".

If confused, call 0508 NETSAFE for free advice