Craigslist And Cyberstalking Part 2
To read my story go to http://life990.blogspot.com/2013/01/craigslist-and-cyberstalkinglp.html
Privacy is not what it used to be. Not only do people not value it as much as we used to we don't know how to protect it and with so many spies out there ready to snatch every viable piece of information about us we are at a loss when it comes to protecting our privacy.
With the advent of social media sites like facebook, twitter, etc., privacy has become less commonplace. Now there are still alot of people out there who don't use it for that purpose. But I realized just a few short years ago that I could either control what kind of information goes out there or I could just sit idly by while information brokers, spies, etc., put whatever personal information they wanted to out there about me. In fact, I did some searching on my own name and found information where I'd posted on a medical message board, a christian site and a number of other discussion boards. I was most alarmed at the medical information. It was not that I really cared if people knew what my sugar/cholesterol numbers were or that I had a heart condition but alot of people don't want that information posted. They think when they post it is anonymous, well, it isn't. Somehow or another, a savvy information broker will be able to put the pieces together with your username and other information they find in various sources and put a picture of you together. But that is their job. That's exactly what they are hired and trained to do. Take little pieces of information from one source and little pieces from other sources and put it together until they have a full face picture and getting that information isn't that difficult. They use public records, magazine databases, catalog companies, travel guides and brochures, information culled from credit card companies and utilities and of course now online sources like facebook and twitter where you post your own personal information out there for the whole world to see. The only problem is they have a much bigger picture than you probably every intended to be out there. And once it is, there's nothing you can do. You can't erase the information from the search engines and people search sites.
What you can do is control the information that gets put out there about you. At least to a certain degree. There's nothing wrong with using facebook, twitter, etc., especially if you're like me and you use it to market your blogs, websites, etc., like I do. One of the most important things you can do to protect your privacy is to not post your physical address anywhere. In fact, I recommend using a post office box or maildrop address for even credit cards. Since I don't get mail delivery at my residence(they don't do mail delivery of any kind where we live) I have to use a post office box and credit card companies won't accept that due to the patriot act so I simply put the physical address of the post office in there with my PO Box number and that works just fine. You can also use your physical address with your po box number in there. If you live in a different zip code than your po box then you can use the first part of your physical address.
For privacy purposes, I highly recommend using a po box over getting mail at your physical residence. This also cuts down on thieves grabbing your mail while you're at work or elsewhere. It gives you privacy when credit card companies, banks, catalog companies, etc. sell your information. The only information they have is your po box address. I haven't used my physical address even once for mail and so far the only address I find for myself is my po box so as far as I can see it does work to privatize your home address. If you prefer to get junk mail like catalogs, magazines, travel brochures, etc. at your home you can sign up for them using a fake name, if you truly prefer to stay private. I understand this may sound a little extreme and over the top but if you've ever been through stalking or on the hitlist for some other nosey person then you would understand the extremist view on privacy.
Almost every company you deal with including your bank, credit card company, utility company and most certainly catalog companies, travel bureaus, etc. sell your personal information and they don't care who they sell it to and they don't ask what purpose they're going to use it for either. The truth is, they really don't care as long as the company buying your information pays for it. Personal information doesn't include things like your social security number but it does include your name, address, phone number, email address and maybe even your birthdate and maybe a few other nonessential items like your buying history, etc. But this is all a stalker needs is your name and address. As a matter of fact, he doesn't even care about the other personal information unless he plans to commit identity theft too.
One of the most surprising things I found a few years ago is that even though my phone number is unlisted it can still be found on white page sites. Periodically, I check a few of them to see what's out there. For that reason, I can't recommend having a home number. I use just a cell phone. Now some people depending on where they live have to have a landline. What you can do is ask the phone company to take out the address portion and in some cases you can ask them to list it in your grandmother's name, etc. You just have to tell them your grandmother lives with you. Again, this is from a more extreme angle on privacy and if you've ever been stalked or facing this very thing right now then doing what I suggest is not in the least bit extreme. You have to do what it takes to protect your privacy and protect yourself from the stalker finding you. And believe me a stalker will go to great lengths to find you. If going the normal route of searching doesn't net the information he wants then if you are on facebook he may contact your friends and don't think he won't go to such lengths as to first befriend your friends and family members in an effort to find you.
A few months back when I was in Florida I got to talking to the desk clerk at the hotel I was staying at and I found out she had moved from California and still had to be on the lookout because her ex husband was following/stalking her on the internet. So when she signed up for facebook she used a fake name. Actually, the name of an apparel designer which was quite catchy I thought. I left there with a new friend on my facebook friend list and thought how terrible it was that she had to use a fake name and just tell her close friends and family what it was so they could befriend her. Of course, there are a variety of reasons people might use a fake name but this is the most obvious reason.
In part 3 I will talk more about keeping private and avoiding an overzealous person on the internet that could turn into a stalker.
To read Craigslist And Cyberstalking Part 1 go to http://sassygrrl32.hubpages.com/hub/Craigslist-And-Cyberstalking
To read Craigslist And Cyberstalking Part 3 go to http://sassygrrl32.hubpages.com/hub/Craigslist-And-Cyberstalking-Part-3
Here is a link to another article that outlines the different kinds of stalkers and an interesting story worth reading. http://hcporter.hubpages.com/hub/Cyber-Stalker