How Your Username Can Be used to Track You

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with IDTheftSecurity.com Inc

You probably have a few usernames, or you might have just one that you use for every site. Either way, your user names can be used not just to identify you online, but it can also be used to track you and find out information about you. How do people track you based on your user name? They do the following:

They Start with a Google Search

The first thing people do to track your username is do a Google search. You will be amazed by all of the information that is out there. However, Google is not the only game in town, so the best scammers will search on other search engines, too, including Bing,  USA.gov, various information broker sites and within social media.

They Then Move on to Social Networks

With so many people on social networks, it is a good possibility that a scammer can find you there, too, especially if they know the username that you use over and over again. It’s easy to find someone on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, and in many cases, this is a gold mine of information for them.  Once they find your account, they can do any number of things like save your profile image, and then do a reverse image source. This often helps them find even more information.

Don’t Forget the Blogs

Savvy searchers will also do searches of a username on blogging sites like Tumblr, Blogger, and LiveJournal. Unless your blog is locked down, and most are not, they can read them.

Do a General Sweep of Username Searches

There are other sites, too, that allow people to search by username. For example, you can search for a username on Spotify. This could tell them what types of music you like. They also might look on a site like Reddit, and they can see any comments you have made. They aren’t done yet, though…you can even search for usernames on sites like Amazon.com and eBay. As you can imagine, once they go through all of these steps, they can know a ton about you.

You might think that this is an invasion of privacy, but all of this information is totally legal, totally available, and totally free.

And many of you are TOTALLY putting it ALL out there!

If you put your information out there, it is there for anyone to look at and use as they will. So, consider changing up your usernames, and while you are at it, take a look at your accounts and content to make sure nothing there’s going to get you in trouble, and beef up the security options.

Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of Identity Theft Privacy: Security Protection and Fraud Prevention: Your Guide to Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft and Computer Fraud. See him knock’em dead in this Security Awareness Training video.

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Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Fred Griffin presently on Leave of Absence 11/20/2018 07:42 PM
  2. Kathy Streib 11/24/2018 01:07 PM
  3. Debbie Reynolds 11/25/2018 05:00 AM
  4. Gabe Sanders 12/07/2018 10:00 PM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Tags:
online security
online safety
username
online privacy

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Rainmaker
4,431,600
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I was not aware of this. Thank you for sharing. 

Nov 20, 2018 02:44 PM #1
Ambassador
3,746,004
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Robert- so many ways that people can get information on us. So it's best, then, not to use the same username on our sites???

Nov 21, 2018 04:57 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,452,044
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Is nothing sacred?  Time for some new usernames I guess.

Nov 21, 2018 11:23 PM #3
Rainmaker
2,471,040
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Time to change my username. Thanks for this great information, Robert.

Nov 24, 2018 07:12 PM #4
Rainmaker
4,796,309
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks, Robert.  This is something I really should follow up with and do some changes.

Nov 25, 2018 05:42 AM #5
Rainmaker
3,161,176
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

Scary and true...unfortunately....a heads UP !

Nov 25, 2018 06:26 AM #6
Rainmaker
572,839
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

This really is frightening. I was notified over the weekend that someone tried to log into one of my accounts and I was prompted to change my password. Thanks for sharing this crucial information!

Nov 25, 2018 08:56 AM #7
Ambassador
3,895,927
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Oh my, I have some work to do. I have a lot of different passwords, and change many of them but have not done this with user names. Boookmarked!

Jeff

Nov 25, 2018 12:04 PM #8
Rainmaker
3,212,553
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Robert - this is valuable information.  Like Jeff Fowler wrote, I have some work to do.

Nov 26, 2018 04:51 AM #9
Rainmaker
1,386,969
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

Argh. Being online has so many benefits, but so many risks.

Apr 20, 2019 04:06 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,825,013
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

I just checked Google and didn-t find anything special but I will try the others.

Apr 20, 2019 05:37 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,136,796
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

I am very aware of my presence on the internet. In fact, I want it!  I google my presence and keywords regularly and am very aware of what to look for on phishing attacks. 

For me, the key is keeping passwords fresh.  Use a VPN and check all accounts regularly. 

Apr 20, 2019 06:50 AM #12
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Robert Siciliano

Realty Security and Identity Theft Expert Speaker
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