The Bad People Lurking on Twitter and Facebook

Services for Real Estate Pros with Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX)

Dean posted a good article on Twitter security today. Way to go Dean.

Twitter is not safe. Far from it. Too many of us like Facebook and Twitter. But less than 90% of us truly understand the grave risks that using these tools presents to your becoming just another victim of identity theft. 

Twitter uses Cloud-based technology. Which essentially collects clusters of excess space (hard drive space) from lots of pools of other computers and there isn't much bullet proof security you can apply to that technology. It's hacked all the time. 

Do the math. How many times has Twitter been hacked this year alone? Click the link on the left here and see for yourself. So you think Twitter is safe, eh? I rest my case. 

The other problem is the sheer number of time wasting, ID stealing applications on Facebook.

Your friend pokes you, another sends you flip flops.

A friend sends you a Heart or invites you to a pillow fight.

Another wants to hug you or challenge you to Mafia Wars.  


Facebook Applications!  Oh No!!!!!!!

Every time you accept one of these stupid applications on FaceBook or allow yourself to have your Twitter accessed by a third party program... do you really know how well they built their software?  No, you don't. It seems innocent af first and many of give it no real thought. Just click the OK button. Now you have a pillow fight. You get a stupid pair of colored flip flops.

Am I the only person who questions WHY I'm allowing my personal information and and birth date to some company I never heard of? And to make matters worse, you jsut let them have access to your friends information, emails and addresses and birthdays, too. 

Wow. What a nice friend you are. Now you not only did you put yourself directly into harm's way, you just screwed your friends and colleagues by placing them at risk, too.

Do you have any clue if their coding is WC3 os ISO compliant? Nope. And yet thousands of us blindly trust them with our personal information. Fine. I have a lot of beach front real estate I want to sell you in Nevada. 

Once your IDENTITY has been stolen like mine was, you get really cautions of this crap. Because the bad people are out there. They know how to scrape your information and eventually steal your life, credit cards and your online credit reports. My nightmare is far from over. I had FICO scores of 820. Used to. Now my scores on two of the bureaus are 710 and my Equifax is 610 and they reported only 9 months of credit, a new name and I was born in the 1980's instead of the late 1960's.

I've called and begged Equifax to restore my twenty year record of GOOD credit by sending them copies of my TransUnion and Experian reports. They cleaned up my credit, but they posted the WRONG birthday for me and only 9 months of credit.  I'm screwed for five years now as my score will never get up much more from 610 to 640 by the end of the year. It shows I'm too young and don;'t have enough credit history. So what do I do? I can certainly get my attorneys to sue the morons at Equifax.

Screaming at Equifax

I end up talking to some nice Indian woman overseas every time I call and ask for a manager. I've jokingly asked to speak to Suze Orman. The woman from India is so polite and replies,  "I'm sorry sir, Ms. Orman is just our national spokesperson." Fine, can I borrow her FICO Scores while you fix the mess you did to my financial life? I can't qualify now for that jumbo loan I want in Colorado Springs and you guys are holding me hostage to a report that reads I'm 25 years old and been working for 9 months. I'm 45! Did you not get the certified copies of my TransUnion and Experian reports?  "Yes sir we did, but we cannot change your information we have on file."

Now I know why they use these people in India. You can't tell them off and use some really colorful language. They are so sweet and nice and polite. I just don't have the ability to curse them. 

Did you know that there are right now, more than 202,913 gangs out there and more than 11.3 million people in the United States that can tap into your conversations and listen in with you and your conversations with Equifax, TransUnion or Experian? This is no BS. This is the one smoking gun that screams for secure communications when you are transmitting your SSAN over the web or a telephone.  

I used to work in military intelligence. I used to tap into your phone lines. I was the breathing voice you heard on the other end of the line. It's called the Patriot Act and the military can do a lot of thigns that you are not going to happy to learn about. Your private conversations, your emails. We know what's in there. The problem with the military and government is, as we tap into this information and we send copies of this back to the NSA and CIA (computers), your personal data is once again at risk as it is being transmitted so the bad guys out there with the same equipment we have, can siphon off the information, too. 

 Any idiot with $140 bucks can buy themselves an operators handset which can tap into any twisted pair phone line. It's a problem in New York and many cities with large under ground sewers where the phone company runs millions of miles of copper and fiber optic cables. You pop open any manhole cover, you drop in or you just open up any one of thousands of phone junction boxes attached to your local shopping mall. Hacking into any existing phone line is child's play.  

You have no clue who is listening in on your call as you cheerfully blab your SSAN, personal information, last two addresses over the phone.

Your risk of getting nailed by some punk in a gang copying down your information is now one out of fifteen.  Envelopes you send to Equifax, TransUnion or Experian can be opened. Information is copied and sold to the gangs then steamed shut or taped shut and you'll never know about it. The safest thing you can do to fix your credit is to never check it online. Never talk to a credit bureau over the phone. You set up an appointment with the local office and you go there in person.

Credit Card cartels and gangs have infiltrated our postal system, and in my case, they worked part time at some of the more classy restaurants posing as cheerful waiters and waitresses. Restaurants today, represent more than 33% of all identity thefts in America and this is on the rise. 

I was robbed blind by a young woman posing as a UNM student at an upscale restaurant who after we had several drinks, just asked what we did.  She takes our company credit card back to a place where we cannot see her and puts two and two together. She logs into a browser, finds our company address, assumes that is where the company card goes to and she scribbles down the Visa #, expiration and the 3 digits on the back of the card. I had no clue.

A week later she quits her job, and takes my Visa with a $25,000 limit and starts her spending spree as she drives to Oakland, CA. She opens up credit posing as my wife and the rest is just to painful to tell you the rest of the facts. All I can say is her ass is tucked away in a Women's prison in California and her parole hearing is in 2016. I plan to be there in person to tell the parol board she needs to stay another 50 years for screwing up my life. 

Sorry for the long post here, but you need to PRACTICE some SAFE ID stuff here if you are going to use Facebook or Twitter.

Here's my rules for staying out of trouble.

1.) Never post your REAL birthdate. Bump it up a few years. Change the day and month, too. Bad guys with wrong information can't steal your ID.

2.) IS your real name Bart on your birth certificate? Online, you post it's Bartholomew. Or Bartley. Again, bad guys with wrong info can't steal your ID.

3.) The stupid programs on Facebook - Forget Them. If you're a teenager, have fun. If you're a REALTOR, knock off the game playing and go sell some homes. Every time you accept a 3rd party program, you are placing your ID and personal information at risk including your friends and family you have saved in your Twitter account. According to NAR's homebuyer's report they published last year, they did not report one single instance of any REALTOR playing Mafia Wars that resulted in a home sale. 

4.) Firms are firing employees for screwing off online. Kodak just did it. I used to work there in the 1990's. A friend of mine who is still there said that Kodak HR just marched three employees to the door for playing Mafia Wars on company time.  

A Coldwell Banker office is about to implement the same strict policy for their marketing staff. No screwing off on social media networks on company time. 

You're Fired


Posted by

Bart Wilson | CIO
Virtual Pictures Corp (VPiX®)  
iPhone: (719) 645-9940  |  Skype:  vpix360 


Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Connie Webb 10/19/2009 03:25 AM
  2. Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging 10/19/2009 04:09 AM
  3. Dana Devine 10/21/2009 11:27 PM
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Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging that Sells Portland Homes"

Bart -- your post was riveting .... thanks for sharing your story with us.  I knew that FB and Twitter aren't safe, but not because I'd read about it.  My intuition told me that giving out personal info just isn't a good idea.  But the fascinating part of your story is the restaurant "gangs" which was a shocker to hear about!  I use my cc often because I want the airline I'll have to rethink that strategy.  Will my "free" trip be worth much if my credit score drops?  Not really!

Oct 19, 2009 04:07 AM #26
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

This is a terrifying thing to happen.  Very good warnings for all of us.  When I was in Insurance Claims I used to collect Social Security Numbers from people all the time, dates of birth etc . . .Most of this was before the Internet took of big and people got cautious about it. 

I have a stack of old Hard Drives setting around.  My wife asked me why I didn't just dump them at the recycle.  I told her I probably need to pull the hard drives and break them up with a hammer.  That info is all still there and I do not think it can be erased easy.

Oct 19, 2009 04:34 AM #27
Dianne Hicks
Realty ONE Group - Poway, CA

Some very valid points to consider. I really hope your credit life gets back on track again soon.

Oct 19, 2009 04:34 AM #28
Steve Andrascik
Lake Mead Area Realty - Boulder City, NV

Thanks, Bart. You gave some excellent tips about how to derail potential identity thieves.



Oct 19, 2009 05:52 AM #29
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches


Excellent information! Thanks for sharing. I'm terribly sorry that your life is in such a shambles from someone else's scam. Hopefully, it will work out for you and I'm glad the woman isn't able to continue her awful theft!

How do people even THINK of these scams???

Kathy Opatka

Oct 19, 2009 07:41 AM #30
Brian Birkel
Deeb Realty - Bellevue, NE


Great Post.  I had heard many of the facebook applications were bad but had not heard the reason why.

I thought it was more related to computer viruses but you have opened my eyes even wider.


Oct 19, 2009 08:53 AM #31
Byron Robinson
Realty Dream Makers - Houston, TX


Thanks for the great information. I will pass it along to my friends on facebook. I don't play the games on there, but they do. I just catch up with old friends and login from time to time to see how everyone is doing. Just like I do here on AR. I am online a lot, but I do not comment as much as I should.


Oct 19, 2009 04:50 PM #32
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Well, this looks pretty bad.  I stopped allowing any 3rd parties on Facebook within a month of setting up my account, once I noted what was happenning.  Looks like I should go change my birthdates as well.  But what do we do about restaurants?  I use my card several times a week, and I guess I have been lucky so far!

Oct 19, 2009 05:26 PM #33
Al Dobbs
ADD Real Estate - North Chicago, IL

The rules should be changed to make it faster and easier to change improper credit information.

Oct 19, 2009 06:13 PM #34
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

wow! what a story. I am sorry to hear about your online troubles. I am going to take a couple of your warnings seriously. I don't have time to play the facebook games anyway

Oct 20, 2009 01:47 AM #35
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Bart, if it's any consolation I just joined a class action suit against Experian today! Hope it hurts them big time. Great advice in case some people don't realize how easy all this really is. Sorry about your credit, not your age, your getting younger!  But I do know how difficult they make this.

Oct 20, 2009 04:33 AM #36
Don Anthony
Don Anthony Realty ~ - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte & Triangle NC Discount Realtor

Ouch!  Not good about the Identity Theft.  I recently signed up for a monitoring service, so hopefully that will protect me a little more, but who knows.  Good ideas about not using your real name.

Oct 20, 2009 08:52 AM #37
DeAndrea "Dee Dee" Jones
Home Buyers Marketing II, Inc. - Manassas Park, VA
The NorthernVARealEstateLady & DMVRealEstateChick

Thanks you have a lot of info here.  Twitter is not my cup of tea, but I like facebook, Ill be more careful now.

Oct 21, 2009 07:02 AM #38
Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC

Great blog Brad - bad people are out there - hard to sort the good from the bad....

Oct 23, 2009 01:49 AM #39
Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC

Great blog Brad - bad people are out there - hard to sort the good from the bad....

Oct 23, 2009 01:49 AM #40
Don Sabinske
Don Sabinske, Sabinske & Associates Inc. - Zimmerman, MN
Sabinske & Associates Inc.

Sometimes you just have to think.  Stop and think.  Claude's daughter might have been able to foresee the telephone number scam...

All those drinks, and wars and pleas for support for this cause or worse than not having a do not call on your telephone. 

Thanks for Dean's information.  Well worth the time it takes to read. 

Oct 26, 2009 01:06 AM #41
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Thanks for posting all this good information.  I'm so glad I read this and will be much more cautious in the future.  Now I need to backtrack on some of those sites and do a little editing.

Nov 03, 2009 08:32 AM #42
Beverly of Bev & Bob Meaux
Keller Williams Suburban Realty - West Orange, NJ
Where Buying & Selling Works

Bart, your post gives me pause. We just went out to eat last night and I'm trying to remember if we used the card or not. We all have to be cautious in the world in which we live. As agents we try to be engaging to attract new clients, but we have to be careful of the crazies, too. Thanks for this knock in the head.

Nov 07, 2009 11:59 AM #43

You guys don't know the half of it.  The companies that have the most to gain from Identity Theft are the Big 3 Credit Bureaus.  Case in point, search google for Equifax Lawsuit.  A woman in GA is dealing with the same issue I'm dealing with.  Equifax has hives of ID thieves working for them.  If they don't scare you into believing you are or about to become a victim of id theft, they'll torment you until you turn over a copy of your drivers license, social security card, tax form or other ID document.  After that, you're toast as they have enough info to make you a bona fide ID theft victim.  They can take small amounts of cash from your bank account on a monthly basis....change your current address on your credit files....delete your entire address history...have your credit files mailed to unknown addresses to be retreived by unknown third parties....force you to pay for credit reports when you're entitled to a free report...force you to pay to place a security freeze on your credit file even if it should be for free.

A key to determining if you have been targetted by Equifax:  Get a copy of your credit report online and get one mailed.  If your online reports shows "Fraud Alert" under the alerts section with no contact info or expiration date and if the report you were mailed shows "Extended Fraud Alert" with no contact information or expiration date, you have been targetted for Fraud by Equifax and their ID theft agents.  If you're afraid, you'll buy their credit monitoring products which generates revenue for that point, you've paid them to keep their ID thieves from targetting you...that is until you cancel the service or complain to them about something. 

I just filed a lawsuit against Equifax after determining I've been targetted from Fraud by them since no later than's now 2010 and I can look back and find transactions on my bank account from Equifax...these show as cancelled on my order history with Equifax, but I show no credits or refunds on my bank account statements.

Their foreign customer services agents are trained in the art of deception, so beware.  If you're not diligent about checking your credit reports, you may have been a victim for years and not even have a clue.

Dec 15, 2010 08:23 AM #44
Bartley Wilson
Virtual Pictures Corp. (VPiX) - Monument, CO
VR Software and 360° Solutions

Hi Art,

Wow. Powerful stuff.

Allow me to add more:  Experian operates an entire building of tele-marketers in the Philippines. They're polite, but clearly you realize you are giving your SSAN and information to a body over seas.

Where there is NO FCC or FBI to protect you.

Any moron with $99 to spend can buy a telephone handset with the alligator wire clips and tap into any punchdown bloc and monitor your conversations to them.

You SPEAK your SSAN over the phone and because the land line communications are far from secure, any Tom, Dick or Harry with a $99 telco handset can monitor your conversations to them.  This means you're an easy target for the Credit Card Cartel Cockroaches. Our code name for them is C4 because in 2011, this blows up for them.  My identity was stolen four years ago and I helped put that cockroach in a California state prison where she is currently serving a minimum 15 year sentence with no possibility for parole. 

I have a background in law enforcement and the dirt I've discovered on Equifax and Experian is pretty filthy. It fact, I have 11 counts of fraud that I'm working on and all of them are class 3 felonies. 

The smoking gun for the big (3) Credit Bureaus is the evidence a small group of us are building against them.  I am personally speaking with (3) U.S. Senators who are going to act on Credit Bureau reforms in 2011.

If you'd like to join the Consumer Credit Jihad, contact me sometime.  


Dec 15, 2010 08:35 AM #45
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