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Facebook and Twitter users face pricier home insurance…
Posted: 28 August 2009 11:26 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Users of social networking websites could face higher insurance premiums because burglars are using them to ‘shop’ for victims’ personal details.

Experts from leading insurer Legal & General warn that parents could eventually see their premiums rise even if only their children are members of popular sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Many of the millions of users of these sites post details about their home, whereabouts and holiday plans on them - effectively an invitation to a burglar.

The warning comes in the wake of a report called The Digital Criminal, commissioned by Legal & General and prepared by reformed thief Michael Fraser, star of the BBC’s Beat The Burglar series.

Mr Fraser said: ‘There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that burglars are using social networks to identify likely targets.

‘They gain confidence by learning more about them, what they are likely to own and when they are likely to be out of the house.

‘I call it “internet shopping for burglars”. It is incredibly easy to use social networking sites to target people, and then scope out more information on their actual home using other internet sites like Google Street View, all from the comfort of the sofa…...’

Full article at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1209338/Internet-shopping-burglars-Facebook-Twitter-users-face-pricier-insurance.html#ixzz0PUY45QUB

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Posted: 28 August 2009 12:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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THis is so stupid.  How would it even work if you had a private profile…as I do?  I don’t even allow my photos to be seen by all my friends!  My wall isn’t public…

Just b/c I USE the site doesn’t mean any of my info is on it.  Besides, I think it’s more dangerous if I were in a local store and told a friend , “We’re going out of town soon”...cuz then the person could just follow me HOME!  How does someone deduce my from Facebook page where I live?  I don’t have my address…I have blocked out the name of my child’s school…if I give a reference point like the school in my neighborhood, I refer to it generally as “the school”.  UGH.  If this is real…or even being considered…I will send a box full of dead fish to my insurance carrier.

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Posted: 28 August 2009 02:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This sort of thing can be an actual problem, though.  There have been several news articles lately about people who post all sorts of personal information through which people can figure out where they live, and then who announce publicly online that they are going to be away from home for a month or however long.  It’s probably not likely that somebody idly trawling through one of those websites would find enough to act on, but somebody who paid attention to a certain person or a certain group of people for a while could easily put together all sorts of info.

Of course, the only new thing about this is the particular media used.  Burglars have always kept their eyes and ears open for people saying that they would be leaving on vacation, or reading such information in newspapers and making use of it.  They’ll hang out at bus stations and airports and read the luggage tags of people to get their addresses, and then go burglarise the empty houses.  You should always be a bit cautious about giving away your address or your travel plans.

Just don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t publicly announce in the middle of a crowded train station and you’ll avoid all sorts of possible troubles.

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Posted: 03 June 2012 11:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18232613

Australian Facebook cash image leads to robbery

Two robbers have paid a visit to a house in south-eastern Australia, hours after a teenager posted a photo on Facebook of a large sum of cash.

The masked men, armed with a knife and a club, struck the home of the 17-year-old girl’s mother in the country town of Bundanoon on Thursday, police say.

Her mother told the men her daughter no longer lived there.

It is not clear how the robbers found the family address. The Facebook image was at the grandmother’s Sydney house.

The men searched the house and took a small amount of cash and a small number of personal objects before leaving.

No-one was injured.

The girl had earlier posted a picture on her Facebook page of a “large sum of cash” she had helped count at her 72-year-old grandmother’s home in Sydney, 120 km (75 miles) north-east of Bundanoon.

Following the incident, police have issued a warning over the dangers of posting sensitive information online.

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Posted: 13 June 2012 05:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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There are also other types of ‘shouldn’t have put that online’ incidents that have resulted in theft or property damage that I’ve heard of. For example, there have been a few cases in the UK (when I find links I’ll post them, I can’t remember many details.) where a teenager had posted on Facebook or another social networking site that their parents were out of town for some reason and they had the house to themselves all weekend. The plan had been to have a few friends, and a few of their friends, over for a ‘bring your own booze’ sort of party. What actually happened in these cases was that everyone with access to that person’s page would see the ‘invite’, lots of them would announce it on their page to everyone they knew, they’d tell their friends, they’d tell their friends, and so on, and so on (gratuitious ‘Wayne’s World’ reference!), and on the night of the party hundreds of strangers would turn up, things would get out of hand and the house would end up wrecked, the police would be called because of the noise, stuff would get stolen, and that sort of thing.

Again, not something really caused by the internet or social networking itself, but by what might otherwise be intelligent people (but possibly not) leaving their brains in neutral when they go online, and doing stuff they wouldn’t do in the ‘real world’. The psychology of the internet is an interesting thing, like how lots of people turn into the world’s leading expert in whatever’s being spoken about when they’re online, and miraculously becomes much braver, so that a meek little creature who wouldn’t feel up to getting in an argument at work, school, in the pub or whatever can go on Youtube or some forum and abuse random strangers, or spout total nonsense. Which in turn helps breed sites like this to document and study the nonsense of course! I think the presumed anonymity and safety afforded by being behind a screen, at an undisclosed location that might be a world away have something to do with it. But so do peoples’ aspirations and self esteem. So you could go onto a custom car forum and have your car critiqued by a buff, rich, Californian drag racer who is actually a lonely kid from Swansea who might get his Gran’s Ford Escort when he turns 17, or google how to do just about anything and recieve succinct advice from a Cambridge professor who lectures in X Y and Z, who’s actually a guy somewhere, who lives in a house somewhere and does a job somewhere but doesn’t know any better than you do. In any case, the way people behave online is interesting.

(Of course there’s a darker side to that last paragraph, as if blatant dishonesty can’t get nasty to begin with. So of coure there’s all the trusting people who’ve had their money stolen by alleged African princes and the amazing businesses that the mysterious ‘they’ are said “don’t want you to know about”, or cases like the recent UK one where teenage girls were befriended by an online teenage lesbian looking for a relationship, and would be persuaded, blackmailed or intimidated into doing things on camera they didn’t want to, by what turned out in the ‘real world’ to be a male nurse in his late 30s, using someone else’s photo. Thankfully they caught that guy, but unfortunately others like him exist.)
http://www.scotsman.com/news/paedophile-male-nurse-posed-as-online-lesbian-to-prey-on-50-girls-1-1502398


None of which justifies penalising people who go online as a whole, or demanding censorship and bans on social networking as you occasionally hear from the tabloid press (who, curiously enough, in the UK at least have a habit, in spite of their self appointed moral mission to protect kids from ‘filth’, are glad to publish in their papers and online photos of young women, often very young women, wearing barely-existant outfits and posed in deameaning postures clearly designed to be sexually provocative. Quite a contradiction really, but if I veer any further off topic there’s no telling where I’ll wash up!), but you’re right that people really have to be more careful with the sort of thing they put online. It’s interesting that I’ve known people who are downright suspicious and cynical almost all the time, but online will trust anyone and broadcast their entire lives. As I say, it’s an interesting area of psychology, we even had a separate Cyberpsychology module at my uni, I didn’t take it but I would’ve liked to (it was either that or Counselling Psych. due to timetabling issues and that suits my ambitions much more closely.)

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Posted: 14 June 2012 12:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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From what I’ve seen in the original article here and in reports of other cases, the main trouble seems to be people who join up with online theme-groups.  Potential thieves aren’t likely to go around sending friend requests to people at random, as that would be too much work for uncertain results.  Rather, they’ll join up with a group like “Cancun Super Vacation For Chicago Residents!!!”, and then look through the chatter on there to find somebody local who seems to be getting ready to head off on vacation.  Then the thief could try sending a friend request, if he feels that he hasn’t gained enough information already.  That way he can look for pictures of their home, and what sorts of fancy items they might own.

C. McArthur - 13 June 2012 05:23 PM

The psychology of the internet is an interesting thing, like how lots of people turn into the world’s leading expert in whatever’s being spoken about when they’re online, and miraculously becomes much braver, so that a meek little creature who wouldn’t feel up to getting in an argument at work, school, in the pub or whatever can go on Youtube or some forum and abuse random strangers, or spout total nonsense.

I think that it has been pretty clearly shown in psychology studies that if you take away all personal responsibility for a person’s actions, then there is a very good possibility that the person will start acting like a complete monster.  Even when they’re usually very mild-mannered in ordinary social situations.  I think that online, the combination of people being distanced from each other, the assumption of guaranteed anonymity, and the sort of “unrealness” of it all makes a lot of people decide that there are going to be no consequences for their actions online.

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Posted: 14 June 2012 04:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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That’s a good point, the one about people being potential monsters when they don’t think there are consequences for them. Zimbardo’s Stanford Prison experiment and Milgram’s obedience study spring to mind, not to mention war criminals the world over who were ‘only obeying orders’, and thought that would protect them.

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Posted: 14 June 2012 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Acci: Study nothing - Good ol’ Plato himself proposed the Ring of Gyges, which would render the wear invisible. He theorized that even a noble man would eventually fall to temptation to use the ring for basically whatever they wanted to.

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Posted: 14 June 2012 11:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Robin Bobcat - 14 June 2012 10:27 PM

Acci: Study nothing - Good ol’ Plato himself proposed the Ring of Gyges, which would render the wear invisible. He theorized that even a noble man would eventually fall to temptation to use the ring for basically whatever they wanted to.

Well, he had the character Glaucus use the example of Gyges to show that justice is something that is imposed only by external social pressures, and that without the risk of consequences from these external pressures then there isn’t anything within the individual himself/herself to stop the person from doing wrong.  But then later in the book Plato had Socrates “prove” (as with many such cases, the validity of Socrates’ arguments is debatable) that doing wrong sort of encrusts injustice all over your soul like barnacles, which is bad for the soul.  Thus, people will naturally want to do what is right even without the possibility of getting into trouble, because their souls don’t want to get covered in the Barnacles of Injustice (after all, would you want to be covered in injustice barnacles?).

Which still leaves the conclusion that we only act properly due to the fear of consequences; Plato’s claims simply mean that it is impossible for us to truly be able to make ourselves free of consequences, since we carry those consequences within our individual selves due to our basic nature.  Take away all possibility of scrutiny by others, and we’ll still want to due what is right.

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