Dangers of Posting Personal Images Online

Peeping Tom

People are naturally curious, sometimes, to the extreme.
People are naturally curious, sometimes, to the extreme. | Source

That Dreaded Call

People like to share things online especially now in the age of social networking. Sometimes posting too much information about yourself or your children can be dangerous.

Whenever there's a problem, I usually hear about it on my phone. Today was no exception. When the caller explained that she was a Sergeant from the Sheriff's Department Burglary and Theft Division, I was immediately concerned.

The officer asked me to confirm a number on an active, state issued license I've held for a number of years. The number sounded quite familiar but I checked my files to be sure. When I asked why the question came up, the officer explained that someone had used my license to create a fake license for themselves. I remembered exactly where the image had been posted. Immediately, I began to worry what else I may have shared that now I wish I hadn't.

Who is Looking?

Source

The officer asked me to confirm my address and to provide my date of birth. By this time, considering the information she'd told me earlier, I was already in a state of high alert. I asked why she needed to know my birth date.

"In order to file a criminal case with the District Attorney," she answered.

I asked her to have patience with my fresh reluctance to give out that information, having just been enlightened to the identity theft of my license. She understood completely and offered to give me the main number to the Police so I could call her back and confirm that she was who she claimed to be.

We hung up and I dialed the number she gave me. Someone answered the phone, "Financial Crimes Division". When I asked for the officer whose name I'd been given, I was immediately connected and I recognized her voice

The officer asked if I would be willing to pursue criminal charges against the person in question. I hesitated for a moment before I reluctantly agreed. She said the case would be filed with the District Attorney who will probably follow up and ask me for additional information.

Later, I began to question the fact that I gave out my date of birth to some stranger on the phone and I began to panic. I looked up the number for the Police Department online. This gave me more reason to be concerned. It wasn't the number I'd been given.

Original Birth Certificate

Putting a copy of a birth certificate on social media may not be such a good idea.
Putting a copy of a birth certificate on social media may not be such a good idea. | Source

The website that came up as a result of typing in the phone number pinpointed a location in Houston. But when I read further under the Google Search, I saw the name of a foreign country associated with the number. This made me really nervous.

Looking up the main number for the area police, I came across a wide variety of departments dealing with different crimes including homicide. Eventually, I found a link to the main number and got through to a helpful person named Courtney, who said they had no such officer in their list of that division. My heart rate began to accelerate as I explained my situation.

She told me that their case numbers were quite different from the one I'd been given by the first caller who said she was an officer. As I explained the conversation we'd had, Courtney realized that it was a different division that had called me. She gave me another number that would connect me with the main line for the proper agency.

Tip of the Week about Photos Taken with Phones

After a few minutes of being on hold with that number, a voice mail recording played. How is it even possible for a call to go to a recording when you call the police? I frantically dialed a different number on the website as I furiously searched to find the right department.

Eventually, I was connected and found out they do have a Sergeant with the same name as the original officer who first called me. The receptionist wanted to connect me immediately, but I begged her to answer some questions before she transferred the call.

Think Before You Post

The officer was the one to whom I'd initially spoken. After apologizing profusely, I told her that at this point I was getting extremely paranoid about having given out my personal information in addition to the photo that started the whole episode.

She reassured me that she was legitimate and understood my concern. She advised me to be alert and check my credit report to confirm that no suspicious activity had transpired. I was told that this person who took my license number without my permission and used it in a false manner had tampered with a Government document and that this is most certainly a crime.

Google Images Saves Your Photo

A search on Google revealed these photos
A search on Google revealed these photos

At this point, I'm very concerned by some of the postings I've seen on Facebook and other social media sites, where family members have shared personal information unwittingly, that can be used in a nefarious manner. I've seen pictures of children's report cards, including their teacher's names, their school name and even the exact birthdays of the children.

The phone call today has awakened me to the negative aspects of posting too much information on line. It was truly a wake up call for me.

Post Photos that Don't Reveal Too Much Info

This is what I eat.
This is what I eat.

Have you had your copyrighted material or photos stolen?

See results without voting

Several months ago, I wrote a hub about the penalties of performing services without having a proper license. To illustrate the article, I added a picture of my license. That was obviously a bad move, of course, hindsight is always equipped with twenty-twenty vision.

I searched for the image on Google and located it immediately, along with a dozen or so other people who, proud of their accomplishment of having finished the curriculum, had posted their images also. I sent an email to the Hub Team who assisted me in removing the image from the Google cache since they were the actual hosting site.

Similar to when you buy a new car, you start seeing more of that model on the road than ever before. At this point, I'm noticing a lot of postings where people have proudly shared their personal information, like I did, without a concern about how this might be used to our disadvantage.

A word to the wise is usually sufficient. If I may be so bold, I caution each writer out there, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blogspot, PersonaPaper or whatever sites you frequent, use caution when it comes to your images.

The photo you post may be used against you or to replace you or quite possibly, to stalk you.

Innocuous Photos

Eggs in a salad. This is not hazardous to your identity.
Eggs in a salad. This is not hazardous to your identity.

Beware!

What you send out to the Internet is available for all sorts of people to look at including your family, friends and even thieves.

I've learned my lesson and will be extremely careful from this point forward not to post anything that might possibly be used improperly without my permission.

I hope this situation doesn't happen to you.

© 2015 Peg Cole

More by this Author


Comments 108 comments

RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 22 months ago from United States

Hi Peg, I'm sorry you had this happen to you and I hope all those reading this take heed. Do not use your own photo on your profile picture or post family pictures. Several hubbers have told me they don't care about this, they won't even put their name on the photos to identify them as their own. It is a very big mistake. For those who use a photo for professional reasons, they should always type their own name somewhere on the photo in the event they get stolen.

I've written a few hubs about this also and the advice can't be hammered home hard enough. Never use your own picture. Use your dog (any dog), a cartoon, even a slogan photo.

I use the photo I have in my profile for several reasons, primarily because - people steal. And they don't care who they steal from. They are crafty and will put your photo on any piece of documentation they can just so they can be someone else. Identity theft is second to stolen credit or hacked credit accounts. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Thanks for writing your story.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 22 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Hello Peg, So sorry that you have had to go through this scare and all the time you may loss because of this. It appears the 'age of innocence' is over and such a shame that we have all become prey. I have been cautious about what I post. I am very leary of Facebook and all their questions. Even google 'stalks' people I purchased something from Crate and Barrel as a Christmas gift and all of a sudden Crate and Barrel ads followed me wherever I went on the internet. Strange world we share with some pretty unsavory people. I hope you only loss a tiny bit of piece-of-mind and a smaller amount of time.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 22 months ago from Olympia, WA

Peg, I am very sorry you had to go through this, and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. It's a scary world out there; there are so many ways for the bad guys to take advantage of us. Again, thanks for the words of wisdom.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 22 months ago from Northern California, USA

Hi Peg, I am so sorry this happened to you. You have a right to be paranoid. Just today I was wondering if I should "cartoon" my profile picture and now after reading your hub, I think I will. Thank you for sharing your story. It brings home the message that we really do need to be careful about what we post online.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 22 months ago from The Beautiful South

I am super cautious with anything online. First my son taught me to be when I first started online years ago and since then meeting certain people have raised my suspicions and then too hearing of so many people who have been tracked down and even killed. I just think we cannot be too careful. People who spill all their info such as where they live, work, shop and play...recent photos....are just really lucky the wrong person isn't looking.

Hope you get many to thinking!


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 22 months ago from southern USA

Wow, Peg, I am sorry this has happened to you. We should all be mindful to heed your warnings here. I have my FB private for only family and close friends. I do upload photos of family but do not give out any personal information such as address or dates of birth, etc. We never know who is watching our every move! Just this past week and the week before, I received a call from someone claiming to be with our mortgage company. They had our old home phone number from when we lived in the city and was asking if our property was maintained. I thought how strange so I just said to not call me at work. I told my husband and he called our mortgage company and they said they had not called! Then they called again and I told the person they were not with our mortgage company, as we called and checked and the person keep insisting she was ... it was a male the week prior and sounded like from a foreign country.

Up ++++ tweeting, pining, G+ and sharing

Thank you for the heads-up Peg!


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 22 months ago from Nashville Tn.

Oh Peg, this is just terrible! How sad that this happened to you. I limit a lot of posting on FB and other social media.

Too many weirdos out there. It's a shame it has to be like this. Thanks for alerting us to these dangers. I will think about changing my FB photo.

Votes up and sharing.


RonElFran profile image

RonElFran 22 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

This is a good warning, Peg. I've sometimes had to restrain myself from including personal info in articles because it would be so easy for someone to Google all I've put online in various places and build up a pretty comprehensive picture of my personal info. I've already put out more than I'm now comfortable with. I needed to see something like this years ago!


DJ Anderson 22 months ago

Peg, this is terrible. I am so sorry that you have had to go through this ordeal. Just happy that it turned out to be a real policeman and not

a phone scam.

Thanks for sharing this information.

I chose to not share my photo or any information on my profile.

No need for people to know.

Good info, here.

DJ.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 22 months ago from USA

Scary indeed. I am sorry this happened to you and appreciate that you shared it with others.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Rachael Ohalloran, Thanks for stopping in to share your experience with this issue. Your advice is important and I will be taking it to heart as I review photos that I choose to share. I'll also be taking a look at the articles you've written to learn more from you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Mckbirdbks, The whole thing has heightened my sense of privacy issues and yes, it does seem as if the advertisers are stalking us based on key words we use in our posts and other communication online. You have been very careful in posting your pictures and that's a good thing. I do hope you and others are using the properties feature on photos to identify these as your own where it indicates copyright. I have only recently learned of this through a hub by Shauna B, Bravewarrior. I certainly cannot afford to lose even a piece of my mind.


travmaj profile image

travmaj 22 months ago from australia

Thank you for this invaluable information. It really hits home when you realise how vulnerable posting some information on line can be. You certainly went through difficulties establishing the identity of the caller. Very wise and I'm pleased for you that it was genuine. Sigh of relief. I have learned a valuable lesson here - thank you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Billybuc, Thanks so much for the visit and for the words of wisdom comment. I really don't feel too wise after realizing my own mistake, but I hope it does prevent someone else from doing something similar.


Samprita profile image

Samprita 22 months ago from Indore, India

Sorry to hear this, Peg. And thanks for sharing it with us!!! This incident should be an eye-opener for all of us...


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 22 months ago from Shelton

Peg, I feel your pain, and Im sorry you had to go through that and I know how you feel and what you went through wouldn't wish it on anyone.. but it's good that you shared your story and warning the unexpectet.. bless you


mary615 profile image

mary615 22 months ago from Florida

I see pros and cons about using profile photos. I like to "see" the author of an article myself. It does amaze me that when I shop for something on Amazon, the article I liked will show up on the next few sites I go to!

I wrote a Hub and included a photo of a "for rent" sign I made with my phone number on the sign (no area code, though). I later thought about that, and blacked out the phone number.

My family is bad about posting photos on FB; mine included!!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello MarleneB, I'm going to be a lot more cautious when posting photos of everything going forward. At this point, those photos we've already posted are out there in cyberspace and we can never retrieve them all even if they're deleted from the hosting site. With Pinterest and such, there are copies everywhere.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Jackie, yikes...It does cause me a great deal of concern to read posts where people tell everyone their exact locations, that they are on vacation from their homes, and even post their children's school and teachers' names. Your son was right to caution you about these matters.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 22 months ago from Central Florida

Peg, that's terrifying! I assume criminal charges will be brought against the thief.

I use my own photos all the time. What I've failed to do is type my name and the copyright symbol somewhere in the photo. I'll be sure to do that from now on.

Thanx for the heads up. I hope the thief is severely penalized.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Faith, that phone call is really scary and you were wise to question its origin. For that reason, we never connected my mother's computer to the internet. She tends to trust that people are telling the truth when they ask for such things as her pin number to verify information, etc.. Recently, I've had a couple of phone calls from "the Windows Department" where they need to connect to my computer to upgrade or whatever lie they're sharing at the moment. I hang up immediately when people do not seem legitimate.

Thanks for the votes, tweets, shares and pins. You are awesome. May God bless you, friend.


Dressage Husband profile image

Dressage Husband 22 months ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

There are aspects to security that we do not always consider. If you are really famous then posting this data may not hurt you, as everyone will be aware who the real you is. However for most of us, you are right on the money, there is a likelihood you will be impersonated. I voted this up, as a retired computer security manager and internal auditor.

People must wake up to the benefits and dangers of on-line posting and make the right decisions in order to protect themselves.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Vocalcoach, I've already gone out to other sites and am adjusting the images I've used as a bio picture and even deleting certain info from LinkedIn. The real issue is that removing the photo is not enough. It's important to locate the URL where it is stored and notify the hosting company to remove the image. Thankfully, Hub Pages was able to help me on this one. That reminds me to go out and check to be sure the picture is gone. (Thankfully, it has been removed.) Thanks so much for stopping in.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 22 months ago from Southern Illinois

Peg, this is scary! I use different photos all the time. I was involved in a phone scam. I always give to the police every year. I received a call requesting a donation. They asked for my account number. ( Duh ) I gave it to them. ( Duh ) They said they would be able to get my donation electronically. As soon as I hung up my son called, when I told him what had just transpired, he said that I'd been scammed. I immediately called my local police and of course they told me they hadn't called, I then called the bank and they advised me to close that account and open another with a new account number. I did all of that. It has made me more vividly aware. If I get a call from someone about a donation, I hang-up pronto. I know I did a dumb thing, but I tend to trust everyone, which is bad. Thank's for sharing your story.


sallybea profile image

sallybea 22 months ago from Norfolk

Wow, very valuable info thank you. I am so aware of things like this after having fallen victim to fraudsters in the past. There has been so much of this in recent time, especially the trick phone calls!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Ron ElFran, You are so right to worry about these identity clues we've left around within our articles. I've tried to be generic with the info I've shared but I will be combing through and sanitizing much of what I have put out there at this point. It is a brave new world where we live now with all kinds of people who will use our info in ways we never imagined. Thanks so much for your insight and for the visit.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 22 months ago from Southwest England

We all think we're immune to this kind of thing, but it can happen to anyone. I do my best to keep my identity only where my friends and family see it online. I have never posted my (real) name or address or any sensitive personal information where it could be accessed by strangers - as far as I know! You can't be too careful.


jandee profile image

jandee 22 months ago from Liverpool.U.K

Poor you, that must have shaken you a lot. Good advice to us all. Thanks for the helpful info.

jandee


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi DJ, I'd always wondered why you did not have a profile picture posted. This explains it. Thanks so much for your input and for dropping in to read this.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Flourish, Thank you so much for coming in to check this out. It was a bit scary. Not sure where it will lead at this point.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Travmaj, It was a real relief to find out the caller was genuine, yet, at the same time, the news she shared was not good. This was important information for me to learn and I feel like I should have known better. I grew too comfortable with posting things.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Samprita, Yes it certainly was eye-opening to learn this. Thanks for your comment and visit.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Frank, I noticed that you rarely give away any really personal information. Bravo. That is probably the best policy. Thanks for your empathy and for sharing your feelings. I appreciate you. Bless you, too, friend.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 22 months ago from Canada

Wow Peg! Close call. I've always felt silly about how much I guard my personal information online and off, my social accounts are locked which means they are not social at all. I use a cell phone so not listed in any telephone directory, totally paranoid about privacy. I am amazed at how much people share. For me, living in a small town has made me hyper vigilant, and really when we think about it the internet is like a small town where everybody knows everybody, and our information is just a click away. But what happened to you is awful. What a shock! It sounds like you've taken all the right steps to fix the situation, good for you. Still, what an ordeal. I feel for you, and hope it works out so the perpetrator gets his or her due. Thanks for the heads up. Take care.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 22 months ago

These days Peg you have to be careful no matter what you do with practically anything online. Offline too - using credit cards/debit cards, checks, even throwing items out or copying items on faxes or copiers.

Kevin


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

Thank you very much for sharing this information, Peg. I'm sorry that you had to go through such a horrible experience. Your hub is a very important one for us to read.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 22 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Thank you for the warning and for sharing your experience so clearly. It is something that we all need to look out for.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Mary615, I know what you mean. I was scanning over some of the photos I have of my mother's house and there in plain sight was my phone number in giant letters on her memo board. That's not something I give out to everyone. I'm glad you changed the photo with your number on it.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Bravewarrior, thanks to your article, I have been identifying my photos with tags and copyright information on the properties within the details tab when I right click on the pictures. It seems to give me peace of mind if nothing else. Still, people can easily copy images and text if they so desire, even paint over our copyright info. Thanks again for the useful info on tagging photos.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Dressage Husband, thanks for the votes up and the vote of confidence at to this privacy issue based on your experience. It is in our best interests that we are careful of what information we share online, as I've recently been reminded.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Sallybea, you're right about the tricksters and the phone scams. Sorry to hear you were a victim. That seems to be happening a lot more with our access to others online. Thanks for dropping in to share your personal experience with this issue.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Imogen French, I think you've got a great idea there. For those of us who have established a long term online presence it's too late to make a change to anonymity. Thanks for sharing your good advice.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Jandee, Thanks so much for your comment and visit. I do hope this is an eye opener to others who have let down their guard like I did.


DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 22 months ago from Oakley, CA

UGH! What a horrible experience! I'm so sorry this happened to you. It can happen in many ways.

My husband had an ID theft incident a few years back, and they opened a credit card with the information. We don't know how this was done, since we never post such images online.

However, it resulted in a few snafus with the tax filings, and we now have a specially-assigned PIN number to use when filing tax returns.

We also balk at giving out social security numbers to companies who want to "confirm your identity" by that means. It says right on the damned cards, "not to be used for identification."

We also do not pay bills online, or use debit cards for online transactions...that gives people direct access to your checking account! You never know if the main company has properly screened their employees!

Thanks for sharing this valuable information.

Voted up, useful, interesting, shared and pinned.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 22 months ago from New York

After three years of using costumed profile pictures here on Hub Pages I decided to use a real picture....after reading about your terrible experience I guess I have to go back to costumes.

If crooks would only go away! Thank you for the heads up. Sorry it was at your expense.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dear Ms. Snakeslane, You are so right to be vigilant about your images and privacy. I let my guard down and posted something that I should have painted or blurred or not posted at all and so I paid the consequences. I hope this will help others to realize the tremendous impact this can have on us. It's good to see you here. Have missed you, friend.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello the Examiner-1, You are so right about what we toss into the trash. I've worn out several shredders in destroying junk mail with my personal info embedded on every page. It is truly shocking the lengths that nefarious people will go to in order to falsify credentials. I blame myself for becoming comfortable with posting personal stuff.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

AliciaC, friend, I shared this in hopes that it will prevent others from divulging important details that can be used against us. I'm hopeful that the repercussions to the photo will be minimal for me. Thanks for stopping in.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

BlossomSB, Truly, I was taken aback by the phone call and the ways in which people use our information without our permission. Thanks for coming by.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello DzyMsLizzy, Sounds like you've experienced this sort of thing, too. It really does bring it home when it happens to us rather than reading about it happening to someone else. This is really disturbing. I hope your issues will clear themselves up soon. Thanks for giving some insight to other things that can result from our online presence. All the best to you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Tillsontitan, Mary, I've always enjoyed your costumed appearances as avatars and then it was also nice to see the real you recently. I hope this doesn't take away from our joy and pleasure of being online, just because some jerks decide to be underhanded. Thanks so much for the visit, votes and sharing.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 22 months ago from The Caribbean

Peg, thanks for the warning. Very thoughtful of you to share your experience. Danger lurks everywhere. Hope some satisfaction (to you and everyone) comes out of filing charges.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello MsDora, Danger does lurk where we least expect it to. I'm somewhat disappointed that someone would take such liberties with my information and use it wrongfully. I should have been more careful. It still astounds me that people can be so deceitful. I guess I'm in denial.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 22 months ago from Orlando Florida

An important warning. Scammers are so clever. I nearly got fooled once, but I realized my mistake quickly and canceled the credit card before any damage was done.


Blackspaniel1 profile image

Blackspaniel1 22 months ago

Some information gets out unknowingly. I got a call from someone who got my number from a site that I had no idea shared phone numbers. I thought the number was for them to contact me, not others.

As for a call, and an offer for a call back number, I usually respond with send me something in the mail. I see your problem was urgent, so that would not apply here. But for banks making offers it works well. Often nothing comes.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 22 months ago from Maui and Arizona

I could feel the stress and anxiety regarding your phone call back to the police department, trying to verify you hadn't been scammed by the lady. You described it well. It brought back a similar ordeal I went through in 2012 and I know for sure I wouldn't have been up to writing a hub about it.

This is a very good reminder to all of us. Voting up and Sharing.


Mark Johann profile image

Mark Johann 22 months ago from Italy

Very very helpful to everyone. I like your hub. We must make hubs like this. It is very important to guard our identity in posting images.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Catherine, You know that saying, "Fool me once...shame on you." You were smart to catch this quickly.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Blackspaniel1, That's a great policy to follow. We are quite reluctant to give out any information over the phone. Sometimes the urgency of the situation makes it necessary. It pays to be sure.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

Oh my goodness, Peg! You experienced what we all fear so much. When I began HP, I promised my family that I would keep family info private, and have tried to honor that promise. I also do not do Facebook with personal information because of the larceny that abounds by thieves using this info as a valuable resource. Just the other day, I received one of those phishing scam calls about the IRS seeking to file a claim against me. These creeps seem to try to seep into our everyday lives without any conscience or moral code. It pays to be vigilant, my friend. But you have given us some valuable advice on the use of personal photos. Thank you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Pamela K, Thanks for reading this and adding your thoughtful remarks to the comments. Yes, it is a frightening thing to think about and then to have happen to us. It seems to be happening to quite a few.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Mark, Thanks for the positive response to this article. I appreciate your visit and comments.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Genna, The sort of thing you mentioned really makes me nervous after the recent exposure of data on so many fronts such as insurance records and even with film companies. We are in the age of big brother where nothing remains private despite the careful guarding of our personal data. Even shopping at Target has become questionable and Facebook is quickly becoming a source of information for nefarious people, that's for sure. Take care and hope to see you soon.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 22 months ago

I try not to post personally identifiable information in picture form.

Sometimes I think I should tell people that I live at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, but I haven't done it yet!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 22 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

That's a good policy, Poetryman. I think someone has already tried to jump the fence and visit you there.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 21 months ago from North Texas

You are so right to be paranoid about sharing personal information. I believe I talked about the subject of sharing personal info in my hub on surveillance. You just never know whose getting your info and it's not just Big Brother. Lots of people said they had nothing to hide so they weren't concerned, but the concern should be who is using the information that they are proud of. After all, who better to impersonate than someone who has nothing to hide? Just what someone who does have things to hide is looking for.

Everyone needs to read this article. Telling your story as you did makes it easier, I think, for people to identify with your situation, and realize how something similar or even worse, could easily happen to them.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thanks, Au fait, for dropping in to share these sentiments. It does give us a moment of doubt with all the social media and networking online as to who exactly has this information and what they intend to do with it. I appreciate your comment and visit.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 21 months ago

Hi Peg, I see my name every where and Rodaris puts any kind of information they can get on the internet. They have people who go looking for information from public records and they post it.

for instance, I typed my name and up pops a dating site

they had

How to Draw Still Life - HubPages CarolynKaye hub is on the dating site.

Health Benefits Of Avocado - rajan jolly on HubPages

How To Keep a Good Record of Your Job Search Activities ...Au fait

Big Cats in Mexico - diogenes on HubPages

Quick and Easy Mexican Corn In a Cup - HubPages

Quick and Easy Recipes - HubPages.com

Quick Corn Salad Recipe Taste of Home - Find Recipes ...

This sensational

Recipe Search Yummly

Melissa Ray Davis on HubPages

(Mexican Corn Cup) - Munchin with Munchkin

How do we stop this?

Great hub, Voted up, UAI and shared.

Rodaris want money to not publish our information.

For $9.95 month MyPrivacy can remove your data from 10 specific sites - click here to learn more.

If you're looking to get your personal data removed from as many sites as possible then our Executive Privacy starting $1,000 year is the most robust service in the market - to learn more about the dedicated team that will find and remove your data click here.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

For years I used a portion of a rose picture as my profile photo but read somewhere that people like to see real photos. I might rethink using my actual photo and change it after reading this.

I recently shut down my Facebook account after reading the following: Get your loved ones off Facebook. You can Google it and decide for yourself. Even information you THINK is kept private is not.

Thanks for the heads up. We have to be ever on the alert for scammers and thieves. Sorry you had such an experience but glad you shared it so that we can all learn from it.

Up votes and sharing!


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Thanks for the heads up and I am sorry this happened to you. I also am grateful you posted this so we all can learn from you. Thank you. I post a lot of photos and now will watch what is in the background of the photos.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 21 months ago from Houston, Texas

I just changed my profile pic after reading this. Somewhat recognizable but certainly disguised now for duplicating purposes. Thanks again!


bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

Hi Peg

Thanks for sharing really important examples of what not to do on Internet.

As you say, it isn't until it happens to you that you get smart.

I always like to say

It is the same fire that can cook your food, that can burn down your house.


RGraf profile image

RGraf 21 months ago from Wisconsin

My heart goes out to you. It is the little things that get you. I wanted to post on Facebook the news of my minor child traveling alone for the first time on a plane and caught myself. If I revealed the date, cities, and her name and age, I would have practically been handing my child over to someone for harm as I cannot guarantee that only friends will see it on the social network site. That is a shame because I wanted close family and friends to know. It's a good thing I didn't and she travelled in safety, but it can happen. It's the little things we do that bite us in the end.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Shyron, Yes it is disturbing that so many sites have been created to replicate ours here on Hub Pages. I have checked mine via Google and it seems the copy cats are endlessly trying to catapult off our identities and our work. I was fortunate to be able to remove the photo in question with the help of the HP team, but I have since seen other pictures of my personal pets, husband and myself that I have since taken down, yet another site still has their copies.

Thanks so much for the comment. Your kind words are appreciated.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Peggy, I think you did the right thing in making your avatar not a complete picture of yourself. It's still personal but not such a perfect likeness that someone could use it on an identification card or the like. We grew up in a different time that did not lend itself to such widespread theft of our images and our personal data. We were recently advised that our records had been hacked within our health insurance company so nowhere is truly safe anymore. We must continue to be diligent without losing our need to communicate with others.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Suzzycue and thanks for commenting on this subject. Sometimes, like I did, we get too comfortable with our on line friends and fail to remember that not all internet users are our friends or have our best interests at heart. I learned an important lesson from this experience.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello BradmasterOCcal, I like your statement about the little fire. That is really a great thought. Thanks for your visit and important comment.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi RGraf, you were wise to sit on the information about the child traveling and yet it is sad that you couldn't share it at the time. After the fact with a lot of anonymity it would make for a good share with your friends. There's no need to give specifics other than the great experience she had and that her trip is over. What worries me is seeing actual photos of report cards with full names of the honor roll student, their school name and the address. That is too much info for sure.


bradmasterOCcal profile image

bradmasterOCcal 21 months ago from Orange County California

PegCole17

I am glad that you liked it.


TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

TIMETRAVELER2 21 months ago

Now you know why I never post my photo online or use my real name. People have said..."Oh, you have more credibility if you show your photo and give your real name", but no thanks. Having said this I would like to add that when I have written letters to the editor of our local paper, my real name has been used...and it has also been posted on line. I did not realize this when I did it, but I know not to do this anymore. Great article. Voted up and useful.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Timetraveler2, you are wise to stick with a pseudonym and remain somewhat protected. Online hacks are everywhere. I used to use alternate names then I took the credibility advice you mentioned. Might be time to rethink that. Thanks for your comment and the votes.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Update- Since you posted this I took off a photo of my fishing license that was on here. It also had my address and my birthdate on it. I am so grateful to learn this information Thank you again.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Don't forget to delete it from your hubpages photos.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Suzzycue, go out and Google fishing licenses for your location and see if your photo is there. Then copy the location URL and report it to HubPages team so they can have it removed from the Google cache. That's what I had to do to get mine off line. At first, HP said I would have to contact the "Host" for the site. Then I told them WE are the hosting site. FYI


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

Ok thanks


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I found it you were right. Some one posted it under a hairdressing site???

so do I contact hubpages through the forum?


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

No, I would send them a private email at team@hubpages.com. Usually Matthew will respond but since it's the weekend, it may be Monday before you hear something.


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I just posted it to the forum so everyone will know to do it. I didn`t wait sorry I hope it will be ok but now I know how to contact them. So I will delete the forum


suzzycue profile image

suzzycue 21 months ago from Ontario, Canada

I just didn`t wait long enough. I checked back and the photos have all been replaced with other ones since I deleted it. Thanks for all your helpPegcole. I also deleted the forum.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

No need, Suz. It may help others to know this.


liesl5858 profile image

liesl5858 21 months ago from United Kingdom

Thank you for the invaluable information and I am sorry to hear about what you have been through. It is a lesson to us all. I might change all my photos on my online sites. Voted up and shared.


CrisSp profile image

CrisSp 21 months ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

Thank you for sharing your story. I'm cautious enough on what I put on FB and should be more from now on with other social media sites including HP.

Absolutely voting up and sharing the lesson (hub).


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 21 months ago from Southern Oklahoma

It is a scary world out there! I'm sure most of us could be more careful about this than we are. I try not to post too much personal information here, but I probably have before. I'm sorry you had to go through this and thank you for the reminder that we should be more careful!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Liesl5858, I've changed quite a few photos since this happened. You may want to check on Google for any copies of yours that might be out there and have them removed as well. Thanks for coming by.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

CrisSp, You are wise to keep the personal photos and such off social media. Thank you so much for the votes and for sharing.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 21 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

You know, Sheila, at first I was very concerned about posting things and as I got used to the idea of online articles, I relaxed my attitude. Now I am back on alert mode.


FatBoyThin profile image

FatBoyThin 18 months ago from Kinneff, Scotland

Hmm, scary stuff. Seems we just can't be too careful what we post on the Internet these days. Great Hub, Peg. Voted up.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you for stopping by today, FBT. This situation sure opened my eyes.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 18 months ago

Peg,

I signed up for the FTC newsletter which warns you against watching for these types of things and what to do about them. If you want the website to sign up, let me know.

Kevin


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 18 months ago from Canada

Hi Peg,

Hearing and seeing reports of extreme weather and flooding in your part of the world, sure hope you're safe...V


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you, Kevin. I'll check this out. I appreciate your comments.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 18 months ago

You are welcome Peg. Glad to help.

Kevin


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Snakeslane, Thanks so much for asking. We are soggy but doing okay despite the onslaught of rain that has been a daily thing for two months. Our nearby lake has risen from its drought condition of fourteen feet below normal to yesterday's measurement at ten feet above standard. The grass is like a jungle because it's too wet to mow. But we have been lucky to avoid the tornadoes and flooding in our state, thankfully. Nice to see you here.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 18 months ago from Canada

Hi Peg, Good you are safe. We've had weeks and weeks of sun here where it usually rains. I'm not complaining, but it is strange. This is the third year in a row of hot dry weather, unusually warm winters too. My grass is a jungle too, and no excuses for not cutting it, maybe get out tomorrow and do some yard work. There is rain in the forecast, but just showers, nothing like what you've been getting. Wanted to tell you I love the opening photo in this article.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 18 months ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thank you, V. The photo reminds me of one of yours. We're both bird lovers.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 3 weeks ago

Great advise Peg ! I personally know a person who was fished in to believe they was talking to a representative of PCH , (publisher's clearing house)

They fooled them and told them they would arrive at their home.

They had randomly won cash as well

and a car. They went to the offocial sight on face book. But ended of a flem flam.

They told enough info to be worried

Yet they moved fast to report the problem to the right source.

People need to know if it sounds to good to believe it is.

And stop believing people that offer you riches.

Be safe. Thanks Peg !


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 weeks ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Kiss andTales, Great story about PCH and the people who try to scam supposed winners. It's important to be alert to these kinds of identity thieves and protect our privacy. Thanks so much for coming by and for the important comment.


Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 3 weeks ago

You are welcome you have very valuble hubs we all can benifit from and as good reminders to be safe. I am happy to see your work here on HP.

Thank you Peg.

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