Are You an Unwitting Accomplice to Today’s Technology Savvy Thieves?

Posted on 01 December 2011

Jesse James, John Dillinger, Lester Gillis (aka, Baby Face Nelson), Bonnie and Clyde…  The list could go on.  These men and woman were all notorious bank robbers and murderers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  During their nefarious careers, their names struck terror into the heart of those who might become their victims.  Yet, their actions in committing crimes and eluding capture, despicable as they were, required daring and ingenuity.  Stories about their exploits romanticized them and characterized them as sympathetic subjects to many members of the public and even heroes to future generations of criminals.

Today’s thieves require little of the derring-do of the criminal masterminds of yesteryear.  In fact, many people may actually be helping today’s thieves to steal from them.  How?  Via information available on the oh-so easily pilfered technologies of today!  I received an email alerting me to these possibilities and want to share the stories contained in it. 

The first concerns the GPS systems that are spreading like wildfire in today’s vehicles.  The criminal report indicates that a family was attending a football game.  Their car, parked in a reserved parking area adjacent to the field, was broken into and stolen from it were a garage door opener, some money, and the GPS device prominently mounted on their dashboard.  To make matters worse, upon arrival at home, the family discovered that their house had been ransacked and just about everything worth anything had been stolen.  Apparently, the thieves had used the GPS system to guide them to the house where they used the garage door opener to gain easy entry.  Knowing the approximate length of time of the football game, the thieves knew how much time they had to identify and remove the home’s valuables.

The second story concerns the ubiquitous cell phone.  A woman at a restaurant with some friends discovers, upon getting up to leave, that her handbag has been stolen.  Her bag contained her cell phone, wallet, and ATM and credit cards.  Among the list of numbers stored in her cell phone was an entry with the name “hubby.”  A short time later, she calls her husband to inform him of the theft.  Before she can relate the story, he indicates that he received and immediately responded to her text asking about the ATM card’s PIN number.  When they contacted their bank, they were informed that a sizable amount of money had been withdrawn from their account.

Whether or not these stories are completely accurate, each is certainly conceivable.  Technology has made much of our lives a veritable open book to others, including those who would use this information to our personal detriment.

To help protect yourself from potential thefts such as these, consider the way in which you store and title information.  Avoid using descriptive titles, such as “hubby,” that reveal relationships between you and those in your phone contact list.  If “home” is a stored destination in your GPS, consider renaming it or modifying the address to a nearby one so that you will not be revealing your actual home address.  And, if sensitive information is being requested via text message, always call to confirm that you know the identity of the party requesting such information.  These few simple precautions may save you from the predators looking to steal from you.

Thanks to Wes Centers for alerting me to this issue. 

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One Response to “Are You an Unwitting Accomplice to Today’s Technology Savvy Thieves?”

  1. Jack S. Fogbound says:

    You also can add, Government,Financial Institutions and Businesses that use the Social Security Number System as proof of Identity. People should refuse to offer their information and question them when they are asked to confirm.It should be penalized by law to use their identity number for any reason except the system it was intended

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