Being a Criminal These Days is Not Rocket Science

Am I the only person who thinks that FourSquare is a haven for criminals? According to their sales video, all I need is to download the app, have a cell phone and a “passion for exploration” so that I can be in touch with everything that is going on around me. Hmm, that makes my whole point. Do people not think that criminals have a passion for exploration and knowing everything that is going on around them also?

When Jane goes to work every day and bitches about the traffic or gives a shout out to her favorite coffee place on FourSquare, and then further Tweets about it to her tweeples, some of whom she may not even know, that gives criminals a pattern. A pattern is all it takes for a criminal to set you up for a scam or crime. In this example, the criminal already knows that you work every day. He can assume the hours you work via the time stamp on your status updates or tweets. In other words, he knows when you’re not home.

One of my other favorites is TripIt. Oh my God,why don’t you just take a billboard out that says, “I’m going to be out of town from this date to this date and feel free to rob my house. Oh, and my address, well you can just get that from the White Pages, or some other social network or paid service. “

Suddenly we’ve confused “being cool” with “being smart” – they are not the same. Social media can have such a positive impact, especially for charities or causes and for also getting back in touch with long lost friends. But the mere fact that you put every bit of yourself out there for the whole world to Google is just beyond comprehension that you or anyone would make themselves so vulnerable to criminal activity.

I’m not just talking about the robbery, or scam, but what about rapists or serial killers. Yeah, call me crazy, but your Tweeple posse could have a serial killer among them. And how would you know, you are just so concerned with being popular and having more followers than Dick, you don’t really care who is following you. Or maybe you do, but I don’t have to regale you with snippets from history about mass murderers who look like your neighbor – do I?

The reason I wouldn’t touch FourSquare with a ten-foot pole is because although the concept of the application is innovative, making it a social media game type of thing where you get badges and level up, it’s a security and privacy nightmare. Honestly, when you think about the value of your life or being personally violated and compare that to some stupid coupon you get from earning points on FourSquare, I’d be pressed to say that your life is more important than any coupon.

Just imagine, you are the girl who states on FourSquare that you go to the Starbucks on Market every day to get your daily jolt of Joe. And you are such the social media guru and know all about “branding” yourself that you even uploaded your photo to all of your social media networks. Now, Charles Manson starts hanging out in that Starbucks. He looks for you and can easily identify you from your photo. Or if no picture, he is looking for a woman who is on her Smart Phone and who is so self-absorbed into checking everyone else’s status updates and tweets, that she (you) doesn’t even know he is watching her. He is studying her every move.

But he doesn’t make his move just yet. He waits for more updates and tweets from her/you. He learns about you and what you like, and then one day he makes his move. He strikes up a subtle conversation. You think he’s cute and charming – and wow, you have so much in common, it’s uncanny. This goes on and on until he sets you up for either a) a scam, b) to rape you, c) to kill you, d) to rob your house or e) some other life altering experience that you’ll need therapy over all because you were so gung-ho on leveling up on FourSquare and earning those silly badges and points.

I know this post is dark, and I’m not intentionally trying to scare you. But what I want you to be aware of is that not everything needs to be broadcast to your entire network or at all. Sometimes silence is golden. Add a little mystery to your life. Even the best memoirists don’t put everything in their book. Now if you’ve gotten this far and still think that this is bullshit, then all I ask is that you go and check your privacy settings on all of your social networks and make sure you at least limit them to people you know. That at least narrows it down to one sector of the population that the police need to question when you fall victim to a social media crime.

#socialmedia #FourSquare #Twitter #privacy #crime

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