Thursday, April 29, 2010

Is anyone listening?

Marisa and the man with Dueling Cell PhonesImage by irishgirlerin via Flickr
I have been spending a lot of time in airports and on airplanes lately.  One of the things that amazes me is that people will talk on their cell phones and pretty much say all kind of things; apparently oblivious to the people around them.

I was sitting in my seat yesterday, waiting for the boarding process to complete.  A gentleman two rows ahead of me was on his cell phone.  Apparently someone had broken into his Toyota Camry and stolen his GPS unit.  I guess in the interest of time, he decided to call his insurance company from the plane while we waited.  I listened as he gave his name, his social security number and his home address to the agent on the phone.

That is basically all someone needs to steal your identity.  All provided just by being in earshot of someone on a cell phone.  Since my phone has a nice little voice recorder, I was tempted to turn it on, record and then play back his information for him.  I didn't, but it was tempting.

So, just be aware that when you are busy and using your cell phone for business or personal use in a public place, that a: You don't have any expectation of privacy if someone can overhear you.  And b:  Don't give out personal information where someone can easily hear and jot it down for later use.


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1 comment:

  1. a: and b: are pretty much the same thing (b: is merely a subset of a:), but I'm wondering if you mentioned to the caller that he should be more aware of disclosing personal information at all. No need to record it.

    I used to do this on the train, and had about a 50/50 positive and negative reaction. Now, I just sit back and observe other people listening in; I'm done with the threats of being beaten silly for listening to private information being disclosed in public.

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