Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Protecting Your Identity in a Virtual World

In a place where everyone is as anonymous as they want to be, you do not know who you are really speaking to.
you have to be very protective of your real life identity.

We are protective of our computers with virus and anti-spyware programs. We change passwords and set up firewalls. You would think that common sense would prevail and then you hear what happened to someone who let their identity slip out and regretted it.

You meet people online all the time. Your degree of comfortability with people you hang around with online can often get very relaxed. Soon you are exchanging emails, giving your MSN or Yahoo instant messenger info out. Next thing you know each other's real names and phone numbers. Maybe even your actual addresses.

For some of us we have many friends from the Internet. Friends near and far. Friends we have met in real life. Friends you talk to everyday. People we have known and trusted for years. Practically everyone has picked up friends along the way and have stayed in touch with from the Internet community. Most of you have met someone along the way on the Internet that gave you the creeps or you have had a bad experience with. This is the thing you did not expect. No one can anticipate everything. That much is certain.

I would like to think that in 2008 everyone would be more vigilant with our real life personal information and sense of safety. The fact is people are still online giving out their personal info and then regrettably finding themselves compromised. Their identities stolen. Finding themselves stalked, harassed or worse.

I know many people who have had many great experiences. I have had them as well. Many people have had some terrible experiences. The news is loaded with stories of what can go wrong and what wrongs are done to people when they were not careful.

My advise to you today is in a world of virtual people, instant messengers, email, Facebook, my space, cell phones and texting; please please please protect your identity, your personal safety, your passwords, your credit cards, paypal accounts and your inventory. No one wants to hear that something terrible happened in what should otherwise be a relaxing and friendly environment.
These things do and can happen.

The best policy is to "play it safe".
  • Limit the amount of information you give out about yourself to anyone. Don't become a target.
  • Don't volunteer your information without good cause and to people who you do not know very well.
  • Be considerate of others and do not ask for too much personal information from them.
  • Do not post your real life name, address, phone numbers out where anyone can get to them. These things can be used to steal your identity.
  • Be protective of your posted real life pictures, and account information.
  • Never give out your passwords and bank information!
  • In Second Life no Linden or Mentor will ask for your password information, so do not give that out either.
  • Be careful who you authorize to "edit your objects".
Let us all be "safety conscious" and "security minded".
This PSA has been sponsored by Doc

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