Thursday, February 9, 2012

Privacy is a right in most cases, but is also a responsibility for individuals and business to protect.  Private information is valuable and sought after by criminals and unscrupulous companies that want your information for marketing and other reasons.  Private information is anything that can identify a person: name, address, phone number, social security number, photographs, medical records, bank information, services you use, preferred spots to travel and even the airlines you use to get there, etc.  People often take their privacy for granted when using the internet and social networking sites, but the issue is becoming more important than ever.  Ignoring the risk and not protecting your private information can be a costly learning experience.  The privacy battle has begun.

Under the motto of “sharing” online, many consumers and business are finding out the real world risks of putting your moments and personal information on the internet for the world to see.  Even if you think you only share with your friends, privacy experts say your information often ends up in the wrong hands, visible to internet criminals, or at the very least, being sold by Facebook and other sites to profit from your personal information.  They are in business to profit from you.  The more you share, the more they share about you, and you information is sold on down the river.

Scammers have found that social networks are a great source of information to learn about a potential target.  Often they find what they need to get started in identity theft or a romance scam or fraudulent business proposal.  All that information on Facebook, Goolge and Linkedin is now a criminals first choice in learning about you, your schedule, your location, and what you like and don’t like.  Add in other sites that violate your privacy and distribute your personal information such as MyLife, Peoplefinders and Spokeo, and criminals can even get directions to your home, get a photo of your home, and find out who your family members are.  Co-workers can find out if your approximate net worth by viewing your home, and police say in increasingly murder victims, rape and internet scams are committed based on information obtained from such websites.

Remember that what you post online is not private, and may end up in the wrong hands.  Companies like Facebook and Google profit from taking and selling your personal information, so don’t be fooled.  Now, with the new architecture of Timeline in Facebook, fraudsters get a very good idea about your life for the past six years and up to date. Using Timeline, scammers will determine if you are a worthwhile target. The approach is very simple: most people join social networks to meet people with similar likes and to be friends, many join to find that special someone. Scammers have a market of over 750 million targets and are patient enough study your profile.

Google goes far beyond Facebook. With the map and location service they offer, they put the safety and privacy of everyone in danger.  Google maps can show your home, your car and even your 6 year old daughter playing in front of your home.  Criminals take full advantage of this service, and combined with sites like Facebook, you are a walking target with little to no privacy.

International private investigators say many of the crimes committed involve the internet, and criminals from scam artists to rapists and murderers use the information online to learn about you, and use the information to their advantage.  The less information about you on the internet, the safer you and your family are.  Think twice about sharing, and protect your privacy.

Best of luck,

A Hathaway
© 2012 A Hathaway
Different Themes
Posted by the Investigators

This copyrighted article was written and published by the editor and site author, A. Hathaway, or other guest private investigator, expert or contributor as noted.