You know what’s spooky? Finding out information about a total stranger on the Internet.
I was talking to someone on this website which everybody is crazy about using fake names on and fake profiles because well, not everyone’s comfortable enough to expose themselves. I had a pretty decent nice time talking to the guy and then he asked if he could add me up on Skype, so I said yes.
I have two Skype accounts; one for close family and friends and the other, for random strangers/friends I meet online (some of which I came to be very close friends with). I obviously added him on the 2nd account. He however, added me on his Skype (I doubt he has two Skype accounts or is even active on Skype because there were only 2 friends there) which has his full name.
I was curious about him, so I started random searching for his name on Facebook and three exact names came up. I knew which state he was from, so out of the three names, only one fit the same state description. I decided to dig in deeper and searched for his name and state as key words on Google and a high school website pop up. The high school pretty much narrowed down what town he came from but I wasn’t too sure if it was him.
So I casually asked him (on Skype) which town or area does he live in, but he didn’t give me a specific name but his casual, “Oh, near __” gave me a clear picture of where it actually is and guess what! It matched the description of the guy on Facebook and high school website! I knew right away that it was him.
So now, I know where he lives, where he used to study and how he looks like.
But I didn’t stop right there, I wanted to know what other information can I find about the guy. So in the search box, I typed his full name, town and high school and booom! I found his high school’s baseball team name list and there he was! So now I know details of his sports history back in high school; jersey number, what year he graduated, what position he was in and more pictures of him playing sports.
I linked everything together and I found the guy! I found the exact guy! Prior to this, I only had a name and state he is from, but with just that, I can find out his whole history with the help of the internet! It was obvious that it was him because his username was a dead giveaway to his love for sports, particularly baseball since he was the captain of his own high school team! Talk about passion exuded via an innocent username choice.
I was pretty freaked out (and amazed) by my ability to find out everything about some ‘anonymous’ guy I met off the Internet and I’m even more freaked out by the fact how I, your normal average Jane, can find details about him at the tip of my fingers.
Can you imagine what some a professional hacker and stalker can do if he did his homework well enough?
Be careful and stay safe on the Internet! You never know what bad person is lurking around!
Written by me, August 11th 2011.