The Dangers of Over Sharing
We want to thank the follower who sent us her story. With her permission, we have posted her message to us, but have redacted her name to protect her identity. This story is an important message to all that highlights the reality that sometimes personal information shared in social media, can come back to haunt you years later. Thank you to the follower who sent us her story, and we will always be there to help if needed!
The White Hatter Team
I want to share my story with you in hopes that it will be a lesson to others.
Last year I took my 12-year-old daughter and some of her friends to see one of your presentations. I feel it was very informative for them, and certainly reinforced things I had been telling her. Thank you. I share your information often. :)
Now, my story and a little bit about me.
I don’t use much for social media. I am on Facebook, but keep almost everything private. My friend's list is not public. I did, however, leave some pictures of my cat public as they were linked to a public page. I also had some “in search of” posts which were public. I don’t accept friend requests just because they were sent or because we have some mutual friends. I really need to know the person. I also do accept requests from duplicate accounts unless I have personally spoken with the person. In general, I am just a fairly private person but have never felt that I need to hide from anyone.
Last week I received a usual FB friend request from a name I don’t know and a profile without information. As per my normal, I didn’t respond. A couple hours later that same person started commenting on a few of my public pictures, pictures that were over 1 year old. The comments were creepy. I blocked the profile.
After about 1 hour I started receiving phone calls from an out of province phone number. I don’t answer calls I don’t know. When I checked my voicemail I had a message that was addressed to my younger sister but asking that it be passed along to me. The caller, well the caller identified himself as the man who raped me 25 years ago when I was 11 years old. I have not had any type of contact with this person in close to 24 years since he was sentenced for his crime. I don’t know how long he spent in jail. I didn’t know or care where his life took him after. Now, one thing that came screaming to mind was that 3 months ago I received a random FB message from someone asking me if I knew “...” I chose not to engage. It kinda felt like a not my circus, not my monkeys thing.
When I logged back into my FB I then found a message from the person who had tried to contact me just hours before. The message had been sent before I blocked him. He identified himself as the person that raped me. Neither phone or FB messages were threatening; however, it takes the cake on creepy and weird.
I contacted the RCMP and started a file. I was told to block and ignore. I went further and found his 17 aliases through Criminal Services Online then blocked every FB profile with those names which appeared fake.
Over the next couple days my sister started getting random friend requests from this person and every time she blocked a profile he set up a similar one and tried again. He was doing the same thing to me.
On the 4th day I started receiving more phone calls. The phone numbers were getting closer to BC. I went back to the RCMP. I have a second file open, but not a lot is being done because nothing is threatening. I ended up changing my phone number.
I went public, to my friends, with my story. I really stressed the importance of internet safety. I invited everyone to search for me publicly and let me know if they could find my information, specifically my phone number. No one could find anything significant.
Well, today we found where he found my phone number and why he thought it was my sister’s number. Over 2 years ago my sister publicly posted on her FB a screen capture of a conversation we had. She did not block out my phone number. My sister makes the majority of her posts public. He searched hundreds of FB posts on her profile to find that one post from over 2 years ago just to get the information he needed to be able to harass me. All it took was that one public funny screen capture.
To me, this speaks volumes about over sharing our information and risking information and safety. Who would have ever thought that 25 years later a rapist would seek out his victim. Who would have ever thought that a 2year old screen capture of a funny conversation would open the doors for such an ordeal.
Few of us think about what’s to come in 25 years. Our children definitely don’t think of where their actions will take them in 2 years.
This is my story. I really hope that others learn from it and that our children, and adults, are safer about their, and their friends, information.