Thursday, July 2, 2009

Would You Give Your Personal Information To A Rapist?

There is one thing that really erks me about Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or other blogging sites such as blogger or Xanga.

Innocent stupidity.

Some people are too trusting that nothing bad will ever happen to them. I have seen on Facebook walls and Myspace comments where people will leave their phone number for that friend. Little do they know that maybe their friend's site is not protected with a privacy lock so anyone can access your phone number.

People give out too much information about their personal lives. Say you talk about living on your own, in an apartment, and post pictures of your new car. Well, automatically someone could figure out what state you live in and even the city. They could then search apartment complexes in your town and drive around if they really wanted to find you. Spot your car, and bingo, they have you.

Do you link your Myspace to your Facebook? Bingo, they have your last name. Having someone's full name is like giving away your social security number online. This means they can search you on Google to find a phone number and home address. Maybe you're under 18, they can find your parents information to find your home address. Google Maps even has a satellite image of your house so they know what it looks like. Google Maps even has a feature called "Street View" with pictures of your house (in some areas). You may have posted pictures of your bedroom with curtains that could be identified from outside. Now the stalker knows where you sleep.

Predators have a different mentality, if they want YOU, they will find you based on the information that you give.

I was stalked online by a creep in my town when I was 17. He found me on Myspace and started a conversation with me. I gave out too much info than I should have, such as where I went to high school and what neighborhood I lived in, I was gullible and naive. He clicked a link I had to my Xanga that detailed what I did during the day. Back then, I was a journal blogger. He knew about my vacation to Louisiana and where I went to church based on a blogring I belonged to on Xanga. He called my house and spoke to my mom telling her, "Is she back from Louisiana?" and then hung up. That night I went to youth group and a suspicious car was in the parking lot of the church driving around, I knew that was the stalker. The police officer said that he probably looked up my phone number in the telephone book and found my address in there too. It was because I had given him my last name.

I deleted my sites and vanished from online in hopes to elude the guy from getting anymore information. Thankfully my family was planning on moving and I graduated high school and went to college. I learned my lesson and advocate to anyone to REALLY be careful what you say, bits and pieces can be strung together over time to create a profile on you and then the predator can find you.

I advise people really to not link your Facebooks to your social networking sites and do not use your last name for anything online. You can go and do all the privacy blocking you want, but that information can get out to anyone just on accident.

In Smokey the Bear fashion, Only you can prevent predators.

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