Well, first of all, let me make one thing clear: I am not a hacker.
Then, in exactly the same way search engines look for words, Google scoured the internet for every copy of your picture that exists online. I gleaned your full name from one of these resources, which I used to find out everything else that you, or anyone, have publicly posted about you online.
The scary part is how easy it is to do. Rich older men might seem like perfect targets for these types of cyber criminals.
But most often victims are young females under 18 years of age. Offences originating from dating websites and apps are snowballing into a worldwide crime epidemic.
In the UK, seven times more Tinder and Grindr-related crimes were reported in the past two years than in previous years — a total of cases. Last week the US Navy was forced to issue an official warning to sailors telling them not to engage in sexually explicit activities online — at least have been the victims of sextortion in the past four years.
The most frightening aspect of sextortion is that the law might not always protect victims due to it being a relatively new phenomenon. Researchers argue that new laws are needed to specifically target this crime.
Take the case of one prominent identity I recently discovered on an embarrassing online dating site read: Google image searching his picture directed me to the newspaper article it was originally published in.
A search of the picture he used on his LinkedIn profile brought me to his Twitter, which used the same profile picture. After that, the ASX told me his company was in good health — perfect. And finally, I jumped onto Facebook.
But his display picture featured him and his wife in an ever so loving embrace. Searching that photo led me to her LinkedIn — she was in marketing and all her channels of online communication were listed there — Twitter, personal blog, email address.
How valuable information about your love of curvaceous black women or your penchant Amateur dating pics men weight loss blindfolded anal sex is depends entirely on:. The good news for cyber stalkers is modern dating websites and apps are designed in such a way that online predators can quickly sort through thousands of profiles to single out the people who do have something to hide.
Running a customised search that filters results to only include married, wealthy men with profile pictures. Sifting through those results until a promising profile picture comes up.
What do I mean by promising pictures? The dead giveaways that an image is likely to be found elsewhere on the internet include:.
Or, even worse, you could end up falling prey to a real life stalker. If you want to date online but value discretion, follow these simple tips to keep your identity safe:. Something as simple as a picture attached to an Airbnb profile or Yelp review is enough to give away your whole identity.
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Google image search will still bring up duplicates of a picture if it can match the majority of the photograph. A stray yellow pages or Facebook business listing can instantly reveal your identity.
Vivienne is a blogger with a penchant for sarcasm and a love of writing true tales about unconventional encounters.
Follow her on Twitter gattonstreet. Don't feel helpless about digital security and privacy. Personal Tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler shows five steps to becoming less of an easy target for hackers, publishers and marketers. Log in No account?
Sign up Log out news. I discovered who you are in four seconds. And anyone else can too.
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