I'm really surprised at how many people are willing to share such deeply personal information such as their detailed finances on a discussion forum on the internet.
I'm leary of giving out that kind of information because there is no such thing as annonymity on the internet. If you have the tools and the know how it's not hard to find out someone's IP address and track them right to their computer and steal credit card and bank information, or even to their front door and rob them blind.
I saw on one of those crime shows that there are some people who make it their living to comb the net looking for victims
I'd hate to see anyone here, or anywhere for that matter, become a victim because they felt safe sharing deeply, seemingly harmless, information about themselves.
I'll give you a bit of an example of what happened to me not all that long ago.
I ended up with a stalker that I had "met" on the internet. I say "met" because that is how we came into each others' lives. Years ago I used to play an online computer game. Through game play you get to know a number of people through their characters in the game. Sometimes you even carry those friendships out of the game into a chat program like ICQ or MSN. This is what happened with me.
As part of my game play I had an in game "business" where I made in game items or acquired in game resources and sold them in game to other players. As a result I got to know many people (actually their game characters) on the server I played on. I also got to know a number of people enough that we added each other to ICQ so that we could contact each other if we just wanted to hang out in the game or go monster hunting.
One guy became fixated on me in the game and in ICQ. I won't go into detail because the story is long and the details not really relevant, but let's just say that with a few bits of basic information (ISP email address, first name, unlisted
telephone number, city I lived in which has over 700,000 people, and the type of work that I did) that he used the tools that he had available to him as a US Marine working in communications, to find out not only my full name
, but my Social Insurance Number, Driver's License Number, where I worked and my home address.
That guy stalked me on the net and in my life for almost 5 months. The police couldn't do anything because he never "did anything" specific. All he did was make veiled threats or comments with meanings that he knew I would pick up on. Oh, and he even had is ex girl friend join in on his stalking venture.
I ended up having to change my email address, ICQ number and telephone number. In the computer game I changed servers and created brand new characters with new names, made a ruse of advertising my game account for sale and having a friend "bid" on it. All in an attempt to lose myself. I almost moved because for months I was afraid to leave my home and everyone that I saw on the street that remotely looked like him sent me into a panic.
So you see, it's not just something that happens to other people. It can happen to anyone, and with very little information given out.