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I think I will pass on trying to win the iPhone. It is another sign-up gimmick to get information about me, if only an E-mail address. Even without trying, I seem to get subscribed to lists, almost as fast as I can unsubscribe. It is hard to know how I get on all these lists. Not only is it annoying, but eventually, more personal information gets out and soon one can face identity theft. iPhone apps that ask you to establish an account on some fly-by-night company server, are notorious. I delete those sorts of apps.

Someone I know sent me a notification about an iPhone contest through Facebook. When I clicked on the link in the E-mail message, I was asked to login to my FB account. When I tried, I received a notification of suspected unauthorized activity on my account. Someone was trying to login from somewhere in the U.S. So, I had to go through a verification and had to reset my password. I did this and then went back to the link in the E-mail. I got the same notice and had to do the reset again. Finally, I got everything sorted out and then had to spend a lot of time making my account more secure. If I still have problems, I am going to get rid of my Facebook account. I don’t use it much, find it annoying and it is simply not very elegant, in my opinion.

You may think that I am being a bit paranoid, but, recently, someone did send a message to most of my few Facebook friends with a link in it. It was a harmless link to a Google page. It could have been a link to anything, including a script that might be destructive.

There are few contests where something is given away for nothing. They want a contact and you can be sure they are going to do something with it. One does not have to look hard to find instances of people’s personal information being compromised. Most of the major instances, such as with cyber bank theft, seldom get publicized. Society would lose confidence in the financial system and that would never do. There is simply too much at stake, too much money involved.

Even when I try to keep a low profile, I still have to deal with a few compromises each year–MasterCard, Facebook… It is happening more often and I know, most of the time, I never hear about the compromise or know what is really happening.

As kids, we used to run about the neighborhood as we pleased, mostly. Today, parents are very careful about this. Kids do not run free. We need to be just as careful with our personal information and identity. Anyone who has lost valuable items in a break-in robbery knows the feeling of violation and loss. The cherished items are gone for good. Just consider how it would feel to have all your money and or your identity stolen. How about the time lost dealing with unwanted E-mails, securing your information and other annoyments of various sorts. Isn’t this some sort of personal attack?

I could go on about digital packet sniffing software that can monitor and sift all your digital transactions, from E-mails to websites, sending that information to a stranger. For $50 one can purchase a small scanning device that, when passed in close proximity, can scan the chip cards in your wallet. Where is the security in all this new technology? Whether we surrender it through a gimmick contest, or other means that interests us, or are scanned, or by any other method, there are people out there who want your personal information. For sure, they will do anything to get it.

There is an old saying, “trust everyone, but, always cut the cards.”