The Scam Potential of Presence Messages

by jeremy on October 6, 2008

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David Weinberger as ever hits nail upon head with dose of humor, but his point to me opens the gates to all sorts of thoughts, some of them Web 2.0ish:

Often, on the back of a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign is a ‘Make Up My Room Now’ message of some sort. But, now matter how they phrase it, isn’t it the same as an “I’m Out, So This Would Be a Good to Rob Me, Especially If You Are Squeamish about Violence” sign?

My question is this: When will Web 2.0 presence tools start to create the same informational hazard? Whether it’s twitter, saying you’ve nipped out for coffee, or dopplr, saying you’re planning an overseas trip, at what point do scammers decide this information is useful to them? Or are they already doing so? I’ve long considered automatic Outlook away messages to be dangerous, but I wonder at what point do the scamsters start to pick up on the usefulness of this presence, or rather absence messages.

P.S. I’m off out for a coffee.

Joho the Blog » The opposite of Do Not Disturb

Photo credit: ores2k

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

mattbg October 7, 2008 at 2:15 am

I’m pretty concerned about this kind of thing, too.

It’s like those old concerns of leaving a message on your answering machine either indicating that you live alone, or that you’ve gone on vacation and won’t be replying to calls for awhile. Or, putting your car in the garage vs. on the driveway (always in the garage = who knows if you’re home or not?). Or even just holding your mail when you’re out of town so that it doesn’t pile up on your doorstep :)

On my blog, I only post about vacations or outings when I get back, and I don’t mention specifics if I do mention something upcoming (although something upcoming + infrequent posting when you normally post daily is a clue). I’m a bit more open on Facebook, but I don’t let just anyone onto the Friends list. I don’t post upcoming absences in status messages or anything like that.

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Nps Online November 4, 2008 at 2:32 am

The Scammers News…Is a ongoing project to help bring to focus the scams and people that use them in our chat rooms on a daily basis, costing consumers millions of dollars monthly. Feel free and read us over.

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Jason January 30, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Don’t be fooled with online scams, they really sucks! I got a lot of e-mails every now and then telling me some sort of winning but actually will scam you if you’ll attentively reply to them with your personal information.

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