According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics from the US Department of Justice, 11.7 Million people experienced some kind of online fraud in a two year period accounting for approximately $17.3 billion in losses, and according to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, one in seven children aged 10 to 17 were victims of an online sexual solicitation.
If you use telephone banking, the customer service representative must have asked to “verify your information” in an attempt to “properly identify you” as having access to your bank account.
This information sometimes can be laughable. Typically a person’s full name and home address with postal (zip) code is asked for. In an attempt to “further identify you” as having access to your bank account online, a person will be asked to provide their home phone number, with the initial phone code. A person armed with this information can change your mailing address, order checks, and then drain your bank account in a matter of days.
These few tips can assist in preventing this from happening to you and prevent your children from online predators.
A social media site may ask for your information, however there is no obligation to provide it. In a typical Facebook profile, and other social media profiles, a person is asked to fill in this information, and the profile may not be allowed to be completed until this is given. The best thing to do here is to use a work address. If there is no work address, then open a PO Box at the nearest Postal Service Outlet, or a mailbox service at the local UPS store. These are available from as little as $60 per three (3) months period.
In an era where a person’s date of birth is used as part of the bank’s identification strategy, it’s really not wise to make this public information. In an attempt to be smart, some people publish their correct date and month, but include a false year. However, this is the easiest part of the code to crack. A simple Google search will come up with your alma mater details and the high school or university graduation dates. Assuming that most people graduate from high school at age eighteen (18) years old, if the year of birth is the present year (2011), minus the year of graduation e.g. 1994, and then a further minus of eighteen years, and there you have it, your age approximately thirty five (35) years old, plus or minus a year.
A person should refrain from making their date of birth public information. Choose another date and make that the DOB used on social media sites.
This is one of the “identifying” pieces of information that is required by your bank or other organizations. In social media sites, a cellular phone number, or a work phone number is preferable. In some cases, the use of no phone number is better.
Additionally, the home phone number when placed in a site like the Yellowpages, will show the associated full home address, and with a small fee of $9.99, the persons full legal name, which phone company the number is associated with, and other information can be had.
As a further approach, this address placed into Google Maps, and there you have it, a picture of your house, and possibly the car that you are driving, or drove in the last two years.
Depending on the social media website used, any pictures and videos posted automatically becomes the property of the social media site, and any rights to it has been given up with you ticked that “accept” terms and conditions section. The example of pictures being used for unscrupulous reasons is many. Yahoo was used by an Ohio woman who alleged that Yahoo used her profile picture for commercial purposes. This case seems to be still pending, at the time this article was written.
In another case, a woman was distraught when her mother in law used her profile picture as hers, and then initiated chats with men “in an inappropriate manner.” The examples are many.
Social media sites should be used to connect with friends and family. Many social media experts suggest using social media for business purposes only. A maximum of one picture should be posted for identification purposes. Other than that, pictures and videos should be emailed to friends and family, if requested. A person’s life posted online is an invitation to abuse.
In a study by the Crimes Against Children Research Center, one in seven children aged 10 to 17 were victims of an online sexual solicitation, with one in seven experienced what s referred to as “aggressive sexual invitations” which means that the predator asks to meet them in person.
Online predators are smart. The open fake accounts with an incorrect date of birth, and a 42 year old predator can pretend to be a 16 year old girl. He will use a picture found elsewhere on the internet (point # 4.0), and roam around looking for targets. The Toronto Police Service Sex Crimes Unit in one of its cyber security workshops warns against posting pictures and personal information online. In one example to show how this works, a pedophile can search for a child’s picture. If she is has long black hair, he will initiate a conversation with her, telling her that he thinks girls with long black hair are very pretty. Then he pops the question, “what kind of hair do you have?” A child’s emotions are played around with in this way.
Aggressive pedophiles will use Google maps and Yellowpages to search for schools near the child’s home, with the home address provided in her profile (point # 1.0 and 3.0). Now he knows her school location, and schedules. The possibilities beyond that are predictable.
Social media sites are a good way to connect with old friends, high school buddies, long lost families, and co-workers. It should be used for just that. A person’s life should not be posted online.