What's in a number? Well, if it's your home phone number... everything. Anyone with a computer can take your home phone number and with some inexpensive software, a few keystrokes, and Internet access, get a detailed map to your house anywhere in North America. In many states, with an address, a cyberstalker can then gain access to your driver's license information, social security number, credit history and more.|
"It's ridiculously easy to track someone down with today's desktop technology," says David Butler, Chief Technology Officer of Internet America, one of the USA's largest Internet providers, "and it doesn't take a great deal of knowledge, investment or talent anymore."
There have been several cases of relationships formed on the Internet turning sinister when a predator gets hold of sensitive information. Most recently in Albuquerque, William Miller, a convicted sexual predator, was killed as he tried to rape a woman he had met over the Internet. "I'll definitely be more careful when I'm on the Internet from now on... we're very lucky to be alive," the victim, Kathy Brock, said of the incident.
"True, there are some activities on the Internet which are inherently dangerous," says Robert Maynard, creator of the Kids Internet Safety Service (KISS), "but it just takes a few simple steps to make sure that your kid doesn't become a victim."
Maynard, one of the Internet's leading experts on child safety, wrote the book GoodParents.com - What Every Good Parent Should Know About the Internet and developed KISS after he and his family were harassed over the Internet by a convicted felon. "He (the attacker) is back in jail now. However, I believe that we could have avoided the entire affair if we had followed the hard-won advice I now give in my book and through KISS."
Maynard points out that "the Internet is becoming a part of our culture. For a couple of bucks a week and a few minutes, parents can ensure that their kids don't get hurt by someone they meet online."
GoodParents.com and KISS are available from the Fidelis Group at 1.800.GoodParents (466-3727) or on the Web at http://www.goodparents.com. (NAPSI)
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