Do Crooks know Where You Are?

We all know to stop the newspaper and mail when we go on vacation. However, if you are using geolocation services like Forsquare, Loopt and Gowalla, the world knows you are not at home every moment of every day. Are you being tagged at dinner? Did you Tweet, “I’m going through security at MSP”? The world knows now is the time to clean out your house.

Anyone can use PleaseRobMe.com to see your Foursquare or Gowalla check-ins to know where you are. Yelp, Google and Facebook Places are also in the geolocation marketing business. Twitter already has geolocation as an API for developers. Groupon Now, Spot and a multitude of apps also know your position.

What do you do?

Do not signup for geolocation services and apps! Delete the apps and cancel your accounts would be the logical answer. You need to decide if you want them to broadcast your location. Is the risk worth the reward?

Here are a few suggestions.

Twitter: Settings/Account – Opt-Out is the default for Tweet Location. If you have checked Opt-In to add a location to your Tweets, you need to uncheck it.

Facebook: Their privacy policy is changing all the time, so you need to review it constantly. Timeline will change them again.  Here are a few suggestions. 

  • Enable ‘Review Tags’
  • Disable ‘Suggest tagging you when friends upload photos that look like you’
  • Disable ‘Instant personalization on partner websites’
  • Disable ‘Friends can check you in using the old mobile Places app’
  • Disable ‘Friends can check me in to places’
  • Disable ‘Public Search’ (Old policy)
  • Disable ‘Places I check in’ (Old policy)
  • Disable ‘People here now’ (Old policy)

LinkedIn: Settings/Account/Manage Social Advertising & Enhanced Advertising – You have to Opt-In for LinkedIn to use your name, photo in social advertising. Uncheck it if you previously Opted-In.

Apple iAd: To opt out of interest-based ads on a device running iOS 4, Open Safari  and go to http://oo.apple.com. If you have more than one device with iOS 4, you must opt out from each one individually. (I have not tried it with iOS 5. Let me know if it works.)

iPhone: Settings/General/Location Services – Do you want all those apps knowing where you are? Only you can decide.

Android: Review your LocationManager settings. (Does anyone have details about Android settings?)

Who do you want to see your location? You cannot make your risk zero, but you can decease it.

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About Bruce Demarest

Bruce Demarest is a Identity Theft Protection Specialist. He has designed and taught classes to educate individuals and businesses in identity theft risk management. The individuals have learned how to continuously monitor their financial identities from credit fraud, plus how to monitor their personal identifying information for unauthorized use. His business clients have become compliant with the federal & state privacy laws. He has conducted information security audits to identify their potential problems and has designed security policies, programs, and practices to address those problem areas.
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