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People Who Snoop On You

(39 Posts)
TheChandler Sat 29-Nov-14 03:32:43

They are weird, aren't they?

I've just tightened up my security settings to virtual invisibility after the following:

- I was part of a panel of three interviewing for a trainee at work this week. One young man, near the beginning of his interview, informed us that the had googled all of our names and made a special point of informing me that he knew that I was very good at tennis and went to X university! Nothing about the firm, just the individuals. When he left, we just sort of looked at each other, speechless.

- I have a small flat from my pre-marriage days which I let out and have been doing viewings for new tenants. One tenant came round and everything seemed to be going well, until he said that he had "looked me up on the internet and couldn't find anything about me as a landlord, as if it were some kind of accusation. Oh yes, he said, he had searched and searched and he hoped I was registered properly. I am, under my maiden name, but I felt quite harangued.

- A work colleague told me she had met someone who knew me recently. She gave me his name and described him and said he knew all about me. I said I didn't know him. "But he was describing your dislike of public transport and how you enjoyed your last holiday in Spain". "Although he says he thinks you're a bit judgmental about people and opinionated". He must have been talking to a FB friend about me.

Is this normal? I'd be really embarrassed if I was caught snooping on someone I didn't know, never mind proudly boasting about it.

BramwellBrown Sat 29-Nov-14 03:51:26

To be fair to the guy viewing your flat, I've googled the landlord of every property I've been to look at after renting from a certain well known buy-to-let landlord in Kent who a quick google would have told me to steer well clear of, so i can understand that one. The other 2 examples are a bit weird though.

We3KingyofOblomovAre Sat 29-Nov-14 04:23:25

snoop? is that how you see it? I think you are very naieve as to what people can find out about you. I bet it took a couple if clicks and a couple of minutes. I think you are extremely unaware of technology these days.

NorwaySpruce Sat 29-Nov-14 05:47:51

I can totally understand the tenant Googling you, renting is a nightmare and private landlords are an unknown quantity.

He probably hoped to find you on a list of 'approved/vetted/licensed landlords' held by some councils.

I'm surprised the others admitted to looking you up, but not surprised that they did. It's the modern day equivalent of asking a mutual friend. People assume that anything you put out online is there for a reason.

isitsnowingyet Sat 29-Nov-14 05:53:25

Meh - don't do Facebook.

MammaTJ Sat 29-Nov-14 06:08:50

One thing I find amusing is people who have blocked each other on FB answering each other's Facebook statuses!

They have mutual friends, lots of them, myself included!

Obviously some friends are more loyal to one side than the other, so repeat back what has been said! This can go on for hours!

MrsBigginsPieShop Sat 29-Nov-14 06:15:08

The clue is World Wide Web grin
If you don't want the information to be read, don't publish it! I don't think any of those scenarios are that strange. It was ballsy of them to admit they had searched you, but I bet there are lots of other people who do it too.

bitofanoddone Sat 29-Nov-14 06:25:33

Normal stuff. Shows a bit of initiative, though the interviewee was dumb. He should have just raved on about tennis and how university was a toss up between yours and his and he regrets not going to yours as it is so marv.

Archduke Sat 29-Nov-14 06:32:13

Wake up Chandler. Set your fb to private, have an anonymous twitter account or expect this to happen.

It is intrusive, and unsettling when strangers know all about you - sort of changes the whole power dynamic. But that's t'internet innit. You publish data, companies suck it up.

CuttedUpPear Sat 29-Nov-14 07:08:42

What are your FB settings OP?
I'm just wondering as I have mine set to only friends can see my profile, not friends of friends.
I'm wondering if this might be your problem. I occasionally click on links on FB to see how much I can see of friends of friends' profiles.
It's amazing how trusting/naive some people are.

Btw I'd never abuse this lack of privacy. But I do feel like sending these people a message to warn them that a complete stranger can see all of their family photos, and they should lock down.

TheChandler Sat 29-Nov-14 08:11:55

I checked the "View As" option on FB before I changed it to near invisibility; I had previously limited audiences for past posts. All you could see were a couple of past cover photos which had comments from friends. You couldn't even see my Friends list. I'm guessing the last case scenario got his "information" from comments I had made on Friends of Friends posts. I've now changed my profile name to a nickname and made everything private and/or invisible: no-one except Friends can even see where I live. Its a bit of a pity because people I was at school with or whatever probably won't be able to fine me on FB.

I know perfectly well how much information a quick search can find out about you including from non-FB sites; what I find faintly disturbing is the boasting about what they have been able to find out about you, if their ability to snoop is something they are proud of. I'm not on an internet dating site or something, and even then, wouldn't you think your date was a bit of a stalker if they proudly told you how much they had learned about you online?

I should make it clear that the prospective tenant informed me that not only had he looked up the landlord registration (although I had every single bloody certificate required laid out at his viewing), but he had googled me and googled certification for things like the gas safety certificate which obviously don't appear online, and clearly assumed I was running some kind of massive lettings business when it was one small private rental of a very small flat. In fact he sounded rather put out that he couldn't find more about me! Why he would assume that from the information given prior, I have no idea. It was as if he was more interested in catching me out for some imaginary thing than anything else. Obviously I didn't offer him the property - I had visions of all sorts if he actually lived in a property belonging to me.

avocadotoast Sat 29-Nov-14 11:05:58

Chandler, the dating thing happened to me (well, sort of). I'd been messaging two people on a dating site, both of whom then found me on facebook despite not knowing my full name.

One of them (without prompting!) told me how he'd found me. He googled my username on the dating site, which I hadn't used anywhere else, but was the first part of my email address (in hindsight, daft idea). This led him somewhere where he saw my email address, searched that on Facebook and brought up my profile. And he told me all this so proudly, as if it was totally normal behaviour confused

After that I really tightened up my security settings (and blocked that guy, obv). I just don't use fb any more.

pinkyredrose Sat 29-Nov-14 11:36:22

It's so easy to find stuff out about people online. Not that I've ever -stalked- researched anyone I'm interested in, oh no -yes-

pinkyredrose Sat 29-Nov-14 11:37:32

Tis also why I never use my real name on any social media having been on the receiving end of a stalker.

PinkSparklyShit Sat 29-Nov-14 11:58:40

I've been stalked before, was really scary and a big wake up call. I try and minimise what random people can find out about me.

I think the boasting really strange behaviour, even though googling people is kind of seen as normal.

Sallyingforth Sat 29-Nov-14 12:16:52

I don't think many people realise just how much can be found out about them on line, if others really want to snoop.

Social media sites are not provided as a public service, they are designed to encourage people to divulge personal information for its commercial value, and they are very successful at it.

'Private' settings are designed to give a sense of security that is not always justified. The data is only 'private' as far as other ordinary users are concerned, and it is still there on the servers.

There are so many other sources of data about people - for instance local newspapers are mostly on line now. Did you have a wedding report in one? Or a school sports day? They will link you to friends or relatives who may have open data on the web.

I have on a couple of occasions shocked people by telling them things that they thought were secure, just as a warning to be more discrete. I'm no expert, and if I can do that as an amateur, what can a real hacker find out about you?

dangerrabbit Sat 29-Nov-14 15:11:19

Is it not quite normal to stalk people online (or maybe that's just me)...not sure it's that normal to fess up to your victims tho!!!

glaciermint Sat 29-Nov-14 15:24:12

I think it's pretty normal these days. I often look up people on FB or just Google, whether they're new friends/colleagues/staff. It's not something I'd tell them about though! If people don't want others to look them up, they need only have a quick look online to find out how to change security settings. I've set my own security settings very tight, in fact my FB name is not my real name and doesn't come up in searches, and my Twitter account is not linked to my usual email and has no profile information.

TinkerbellaPan Sat 29-Nov-14 16:22:17

Looking up interviewers before an interview is ok. As long as you are looking them up from a business PoV. I have had an interview before and was asked "oh, I assume you googled me prior to the interview?". I had grin

To come into the interview and confess that he had googled you, but then state personal facts about you is not normal. At least he gave you good warning so you didn't hire him!

Aduaz Sat 29-Nov-14 16:52:12

It is creepy how much people can find out about you. My FB settings are on the strictest privacy settings possible and you can't find me on google with my name which is a good thing I think.

CatLady25 Sat 29-Nov-14 17:07:23

Facebook is dangerous thats why i deleted mine. To much personal info that anyone can find

Leela5 Sat 29-Nov-14 17:14:59

We always look someone up on Facebook before a job interview. You can get a glimpse of what they are like - lairy drunken profile pic, occupation 'professional bum', etc are always a concern. People should tighten security settings as it can give people the wrong impression when it really counts. I'm a professional but used to party lots. I've removed all old photos and deleted posts in case my employers or colleagues look at my account and my privacy is at strictest setting. It's just not worth it, better to safeguard yourself.

CleanLinesSharpEdges Sat 29-Nov-14 17:33:37

I presume that anything you put out there on the Internet, no matter how secure you think your profile or settings are, is available for anyone to see. If you don't want it to be public knowledge, don't put it on t'internet.

I must admit I enjoy having a snoop and I'm always amazed at what I find out, and with very little time or effort too. Not sure I'd go into an interview and tell the interviewers I'd researched them though - even though I would have done.

I remember when I was on Netmums (before I'd discovered Mumsnet) there was a childminder who posted a thread slagging off the parents of one of her mindees. Someone searched her previous posts, found her on Facebook and also on some childminding network and posted links to the thread, they also worked out who the mindees parents were on her FB friends list and sent them the link. I'll never forget it. 'Helen G' from Kent. It caused uproar on Netmums and quite a few people who possibly were involved and thought she deserved it got banned.

cuddybridge Sat 29-Nov-14 17:45:24

I had a note left on my car by someone who had hit it, when I called him, he told me his name and a rough area of where he lived, he then refused to pay for the repairs.
So I googled him, and I was amazed at what I was able to find out, right down to a mutual friend who was able to give me his address so that I was able to report him to the police, who got me his insurance details.

Since then I have regularly googled myself to check that nothing identifiable come up, but thankfully I have a very common name.
I sometimes wonder if the people on the baby names thread even take this into consideration.

Sallyingforth Sat 29-Nov-14 20:12:10

I presume that anything you put out there on the Internet, no matter how secure you think your profile or settings are, is available for anyone to see. If you don't want it to be public knowledge, don't put it on t'internet.

<shouts> YES !!!

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