Facebook: A Roadmap for Criminals?

A student of mine shared a story that opened my eyes to the risks of posting too much detail within a Facebook account.

The posts on their wall discussed the medical issues of their parent, along with health updates.  A recent post mentioned having to run out and refill prescriptions.  The next day their mail had been stolen, ransacked and only the envelopes that appeared to possibly contain prescriptions had been ripped open.  Thinking back to their posts, anyone reading their Facebook account knew where they lived, that a family member had significant medical issues ongoing, and that they made it easy for someone in search of stealing prescriptions possibly received by mail to track them down.  The latest post even told readers when they would be away for a while.

I am amazed at how open people can become with their posts on sites like Facebook and MySpace, sharing intimate details about their personal lives, and at times articulating their movements, without realizing the details they leave for someone with ill intentions.

It is widely known that employers monitor and review potential candidates’ postings to assist them in their hiring decisions, as do law enforcement agencies to keep tabs on things.  I guess I hadn’t realized until hearing the student’s story that others monitor the postings and activity for other purposes.

Be very careful of the details you leave with anything you do over the Internet.