Facebook's 25 Random Things: handing out info to online predators - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Facebook's 25 Random Things: handing out info to online predators

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A list of "25 random facts" is the latest craze on Facebook, but those facts could offer online predators easy access to extra personal information.

Pender County Detective Scott Lawson said law enforcement first started keeping track of the posts in January.

Lawson is a member of North Carolina's Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce that specializes in going after cyber-criminals who target minors.

Detectives said the idea started with a similar chain on the MySpace social networking website, and then jumped to Facebook.

According to detectives, the 25 things chain began on the West Coast and has quickly moved to across the nation.

"We saw it first happening on the West Coast, and overnight it just blossomed across the country and across the world," said Lawson.

People are writing 25 things about themselves that people wouldn't ordinarily, from their favorite foods to what cities they want to visit.  This information makes you more vulnerable to stalkers or identity thieves.

"Would you stand up in the middle of the Super Bowl and tell the whole world about what you're typing on your Facebook page? Because that's what you're doing," said Lawson.  "You're letting the whole world know and there's no way you can get it back."

Lawson warns people who use this social networking sites to be sure their page doesn't contain too much personal information.

He says if your address, birthplace, or birthday is online you've typed too much.

"The obvious concerns are people giving out too much information about themselves which would allow someone to use that information in an attempt to locate them or maybe hurt them," said Lawson.

Law enforcement track social networking sites like Facebook.com to research people and crimes.  Facebook posts have led to arrests, when users have posted incriminating information on their personal pages. 


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