Privacy is a frequently underestimated value these days. Billions of people have gotten so used to having a public life through social media, that we no longer notice that we hardly have a private life anymore. “If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear” is what we hear often. However, private investigators at Wymoo International strongly disagree with this argument.
“As information experts, we know how valuable privacy is”, explains Stephen Garcia, VP of Private Investigations. Privacy is not about hiding what you have done wrong, it is about protecting yourself and your loved ones from people, criminals, governments and companies that want to take advantage of your vulnerabilities. If you are asking yourself how can this happen, there are many ways, but we have listed some simple examples below. Your information is extremely valuable information, and the more you protect this information, the safer you and your family members are.
The ad industry trying to control you
Facebook was under fire in 2017 for using its platform to help its advertisers exploit the insecurities of teenage users. Predatory advertising practices have become a colossal problem all over the world. In this particular case, leaked documents showed how Facebook had been monitoring adolescents’ activity to pinpoint those who were feeling defeated, overwhelmed or a failure. The information gathered was to be used by advertisers to target young Facebook users when they were potentially more vulnerable. How do you like having your kids controlled to make advertisers richer?
For parents, the only thought of someone trying to exploit their children in any possible way is terrifying. But the same thing happens to all of us using social media platforms, smart phones, Google, etc. Our every moves are being monitored. Google is king of tracking and recording your search results, and the information is being stored for as long as the company sees fit. Remember what happened when a couple searched for pressure cookers on Google after the Boston Bombing? The way we use the internet can derive immense insight and personal information about us and our moods from the way we use them, making us all a prey to whatever big companies want to make out of us.
Ever wonder why Facebook is free? The more you share, the more the company knows about you and sells your personal information down the river to thousands of advertisers. While you post what you did on vacation and what you like, Facebook is laughing all the way to the bank, not to mention the criminals who also use Facebook to learn more about you and how to target you.
When privacy advocates dare to mention the violations and fight against the companies who disrespect our right to have privacy in the digital world, companies often argue that they do have privacy policies in place and that users have a choice to change their settings. However, most of the times these settings and policies are conveniently published in very small letters, inside a page you’ll never be able to get to unless you are looking for it. It takes a lot of work to be private in today’s world.
Online criminals analyzing your data
After more than ten years of experience in fighting online crime, expert private investigators at Wymoo have been able to analyze and determine some of the trends and common practices among fraudsters and scammers. One of the most important steps that almost any online criminal will take is to analyze your digital footprint. What are you up to? What kind of interests do you have? What is your financial status? What are your vulnerabilities? Where do you work? Where do you live?
Believe or not, most of the victims of online dating and romance scams were studied by their predators so that they would know how to build a strong bond with their victims. For example, scammers will break the ice with those with strong religious beliefs by talking to them about God, or they will often say they have gone through similar circumstances in life -like divorce, or the loss of a loved one-. Having a common ground is a very important of part of being successful in their goals, and to establish this common ground they just need to check your social media posts!
Regular thieves, rapists and other criminals are also taking a look at online sources of information, like Google maps (to study your home’s vulnerable areas) or data scanned by drones to determine the best strategies to break in. It is easy to just give up, given the loss of privacy.
So why care about privacy?
Privacy is freedom. The more private your life is, the less you’ll have others trying to control you or your loved ones. The less people will be trying to take advantage of you, and profit from you. The less you’ll have to worry about someone trying to harm you or your family.
Take a look at your digital footprint. When others have access to your private life, there are more things to be concerned about, and the more you are at risk. Be safe, stay private. Posting information online is a smart idea. Try putting the phone down, and cancelling some of your social media accounts. Focus on real relationships and real people, and take back your privacy and life.
© 2017 Wymoo International
© Copyright 2017 Wymoo International. All Rights Reserved. This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States of America and international copyright laws. Wymoo® is a registered trademark.