Home > Social Media > Social Media and Crime – Part 1

Social Media and Crime – Part 1


A few months ago I wrote an article about social media giving regular folks a sense of being a celebrity.  We update our Facebook accounts with information about where we are or what we’re doing.  With the emergence of Foursquare, It’s even easier to “overshare.”

Kyle Power even told me about a website that takes the data from Foursquare as an API and publishes it to their site called pleaserobme.com.  It’s been getting quite a bit of attention lately too.

It gets even worse if you have ‘friends’ who want to colonize your house. That means they have to enter your address, to tell everyone where they are. Your address.. on the Internet.. Now you know what to do when people reach for their phone as soon as they enter your home. That’s right, slap them across the face.”

With these concerns in mind, I thought I’d do a series this week on social media as a tool for criminals and law enforcement.  As an introduction, I’d like to share the story of Steven Poulos who was trying to sell a 1997 Subaru a few years ago.  I don’t know if the classified ad he used was on Craigslist or KSL.com, but the fact is an ad was placed and it was answered by a young couple. 

After a few phone calls to Mr. Poulos, the couple headed over to his Holladay home to see the car.  Alicia Wingate and Aaron Millenson arrived at the home in a cab and wound up taking the car.  They also took Mr. Poulos’ life.  This was a scary wake-up call to anybody that places classifieds ads…online or not.

The story took an even more tragic turn when the two suspects engaged in a shoot out with police in Kansas.  Both suspects were killed.  I’m not suggesting everyone who answers a classified ad is a sociopathic murderer, but that we need to take steps to protect ourselves and our property. 

Meeting in a public place is always a good idea, whether it’s a first date or a used car sale.  For a transaction that involves a large amount of cash, take someone with you.  Just the presence of a witness can dissuade a would be robber.

In Wednesday’s article, I’ll be talking about the real-life dangers of Craigslist.  Besides being known as an online prostitution clearinghouse, some people are using it to target potential victims.

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  1. March 29, 2010 at 1:00 am

    yeah, social media is amazing but it leave a lot of space for being a victim of a crime because of the vulnerability it induces. Anyone can trace who you are now and follow you so to speak…

    Like

    • seobyswaby
      March 29, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I can’t help but think transparency is a good thing. The criminals will get caught.

      Like

  1. March 31, 2010 at 10:40 pm
  2. April 9, 2010 at 12:06 am

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