Stalking And Privacy
Recently it has come to attention that our privacy may be much more invaded than I first realized. The big problem with so much information floating around out there about us is anyone can get it and not just bill collectors like I talked about in another hub. Debt collectors are burning the internet up gathering information about debtors and using that info to find them. But the problem here is that they aren't the only ones who can get any information they want. Anyone with a computer can. That unfortunately extends to a stalker, someone who is obsessed with someone and determined to find them at any cost. Stalkers dont worry about getting caught, they don't have a legitimate purpose for the information they gather. They do it because they can and they can track someone down to stalk, harass, threaten or worse injure or kill.
This has all made me very aware of the information out there and better ways for someone who is being stalked or could be stalked to protect him/herself.
One of the many ways someone will search for someone is by googling them first, they may search google groups which will tell them the ip address which gives the stalker a location. They may search through blogs for anything they can find, social networking sites, those offer a wealth of information about someone as many people post where they are going to be and when, what events they are attending, they have a list of the person's friends and just because you may be careful with personal information doesn't mean all your friends are going to be. Often times facebookers and myspacers have their family on their friend list and most definitely close friends which can be a source of information for a savvy snooper.
There aren't just stalkers to worry but snoopers, busybodies, identity thieves, employers, employees and many others you may not want knowing your personal information. We live in an age where information is power, information is everything and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep one's personal life private.
Now I don't suggest everyone stop networking, blogging, get rid of his/her website. I don't believe that is useful. Besides everyones info is out there whether he/she uses the internet or not.
But if you happen to be one of those very unlucky people who is or has been a victim of a stalker there are steps that need to be taken to reduce your risk.
ONe of the first things I recommend is not using your home address but a post office box instead for all mail even catalogs and magazines. If you wish to apply for new credit you may want to consider a mailboxes etc. for your mailing needs.
Be very careful who you interact with online and you accept as a friend. This doesn't mean you can't network with people you don't actually know but have similar interests. Just be careful and not post any personal information or info that could the stalker to your doorstep.
A stalker trying to pose as a new connection will become nosey rather quickly and will ask questions that are odd or out of place for someone you barely know. He/she will ask very personal questions. Which you are not going to answer and stop all communication and if this person is on a friend list delete him/her.
There really is no privacy. Someone can find a person just by using a few databases(some of these are outdated and don't offer correct information) searching on a few search engines and other websites such as social networking sites, dating sites(if they have your email address) and others. The list is endless for someone who wants to find someone. Once all the online avenues have been exhausted one can move on to neighbors and friends if he/she has this information. If they can find an address even an old one that gives them access to neighbors and there's almost always at least one busybody/gossiper in a neighborhood who's more than willing to share any information he/she has about you.
If you are being stalked or have been in the past it is best to not talk to anyone online you don't know. That doesn't mean you can't accept new friend requests from people at social networking sites. You must be very discerning however and not talk about anything personal that everyone on the internet can see. Don't think just because you have your privacy settings set so no one can see them but friends means information you post will never make it to other online avenues or into the hands of other people. Always assume you are completely exposed therefore you must be guarded with what you say and reveal.
It is best for a stalk victim to not get any mail(not even catalogs and magazines) at the home address. Always use a post office box and keep subscriptions to a minimum, only what you really want and will read. Home addresses are on credit reports. You may think this is private information, it is not. Credit report info makes it to sites like intelius, search people and many others where all one has to do is pay a small fee and get not only address information but relatives, date of birth and much more. A relentless stalker will find a way to extract the information he/she wants. So it is best to stay out of these databases. You can't totally but you can use a post office box to keep your home address private. And of course this is obvious, only allow those you trust completely to know where you live.
Put passwords on all your accounts and that includes credit card accounts, utility bills, insurance, anything that someone can call and pose as you, the customer. This is what snoopers/stalkers do, pose as the customer.
This about sums it up for now.