MySpace is an incredible online community which gives members the opportunity to make new friends, reconnect with long lost friends, network or even meet potential romantic partners. While there are many great social aspects to using MySpace it is also important to not there is the potential for predators to be lurking on MySpace. These predators may either be nonmembers who simply comb member profiles in search of useful information or they may be members who create profiles which mask their true identity and foster online friendship for devious purposes. In general the harm which can come from using MySpace could be either physical or financial. This article will discuss how MySpace members can avoid physical or financial harm by keeping their personal information personal.
Avoiding Physical Harm
Those who agree to meet online friends in person put themselves at risk for physical harm. Although in many cases agreeing to meet an online friend in person will not lead to any problems there is always the potential for your online friend to really be a harmful predator. Not agreeing to offline meetings is the most obvious way to avoid this type of danger. However, there are other precautions MySpace members can take to avoid the possibility encountering their online friends in person.
Not posting information which can be used to track you down can help to minimize the risk of physical harm which results from interactions with MySpace members. The most obvious information which can be used for this purpose is a full name and an address. Additionally, a telephone number can be used to find out your address. These are not the only ways predators can find you. For example if you have pictures of yourself posted on your MySpace website and post a blog entry about your plans to visit Disney Land on a particular weekend, Internet stalkers can use this information to find and abduct you.
Posting about weekend plans may seem harmless but those who know where you will be and what you look like can find you even in a crowded location. Also, if you post a blog entry mentioning you will be out of town and also include your full name and the city you live in, savvy predators can use this information to determine your address and burglarize your home while you enjoy your vacation. Those who use MySpace and do not make their website private should be aware that any information they post can be viewed by others who may have malicious intentions. Keeping this in mind helps members to realize they should be cautious about the type of information they divulge on MySpace.
Avoiding Financial Harm
The information on a MySpace website can also be used, by Internet predators, to commit identity theft or other types of financial fraud. When using MySpace care should be taken to avoid giving out sensitive information such as full name, address, social security number, credit card numbers and bank account numbers. This type of information can be used to commit identity theft and the results of identity theft can be financial ruin including bankruptcy and damaged credit. Also, the result of identity theft can be difficult to reverse. Even if the predator is caught in his actions, it may be many years before the victim recovers financially.
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