Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This is a PSA about the importance of safeguarding your personal information that can be found online in any form.

At least it is important to me.

I know we are in the fa.cebook age where everyone (including our neighborhood and our mid-50-year old neighbors and the Christian radio station, to name a few odd ball account holders) have a facebo.ok page and delight in reconnecting with people they haven't talked to in a zillion years and excitedly post personal photos and information for all the world to see. So maybe others have a different take on this than I do. (Can you guess that I don't have a fac.ebook account?)

Or maybe I just have made more perceived enemies. Haha.

For a little background, I am not a good breaker-upper. Of all the guys I have ever dated, there is only one (Mr. A not included obviously) that I would even remotely want to say hi to, in the completely nonexistent chance I run into him in the produce section. And I think the feeling is mutual. It seems as if when the relationship didn't work out, it didn't work out in a big way. And I'm really okay with this. Mostly because most of the guys were (I think) fine with going our separate ways, too.

Except one. Who was pissed and creepy and broke into my house while I wasn't there and loaded a virus onto my computer in college when I told him that I didn't want to see him again (he was also from my hometown). And it's this guy who has always remained in the back of my mind, as a little antagonist that reminds me not to put too much info out there, lest he show up at my current house uninvited and unwanted and completely obliteratedly-drunk like he did in college.

And since I graduated from college years ago, I haven't heard another thing from him after a huge blowout at the end (yes, including him screaming, literally, "Aaaah" into the phone when I told him that it was seriously honestly as for-sure as possible over for ever and ever). I honestly hoped he found someone else and was living a fine life.

Until about 2 weeks ago, an unidentified number pops up on the caller ID on my work line from my hometown. The only people who call me from there are my family, and they use my cell number, so I was immediately suspicious, so I didn't answer. Fast forward to this morning when I open my voicemail, and there is a voicemail from the same number, and it's him. (and I don't mean that in a "taken in vain" sort of way...).

My number is listed on my workplace's website, so anyone who knows my name can search for me, but I had no idea how he knew my married name. I goog.led myself and Mr. A trying to figure out if there was any possible way this guy could track us to our new town, and there was a way, but it took a little searching around. I relaxed a little. Until this evening when my friend from college emailed me that she added my hometown to my maiden name and up popped one of those school publications where people write in about what they've been up to. Now my parents are still involved in fundraising for that (high) school, so they decided to put detailed blurbs in there about who I married, where we married, where I work, and where we live ........currently!! I thought I had calmed down. I'm now trying (again) to convince myself that we're still safe here and not facing an inevitable ugly personal showdown. No more leaving the kitchen window open when I run to the grocery store. This stinks.

His message was fairly benign but incredulous just the same. He says with a sighing tone, "I just need to talk to an old friend." ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? You consider me an old friend?!?! What on God's green earth makes you think I'd like to take you up on that or be the least bit willing to talk to you?!?!?!

I will obviously just be ignoring the voicemail, although there is part of me that wants to hire a secretary for the sole purpose of calling him back, just to say that I want nothing to do with him, and he should never call or attempt to make contact again.

Mr. A is fairly concerned, but we are trying not to convince ourselves of the worst. I feel pretty guilty for bringing this baggage into our lives, although I honestly thought that I'd never hear from him again, since I wasn't exactly the nicest breaker-upper, and why would anyone want more of that? Am I the only one who has had such a contentious breakup?!

So anyway, back to the PSA, maybe none of you have people you don't want searching for you, but I caution you against hemmoraging personal information to any avenue that might be published for all the world to see. It can really intellectually muck up an otherwise beautiful day.

If this is God's way of taking my mind of the 2ww, He is doing an excellent job. I guess He wouldn't have it any other way. ;-)


prayerfuljourney said...

That sounds creepy and scary. I haven't had any contact with my ex's either...we are all much better off. I don't think any of them care to look me up. I read F.b more for fun...I rarely comment. I just waste time on there...and on this blog sometimes. LOL! I hope this man gets the hint and leaves you alone. He must be lonely. Ugh!

Low Fat Lady said...

Yikes that is scary. I hope he takes the hint and doesn't call you again. I would definitely see if you can get that personal info taken down. I'm always super careful on what I post, but still always a bit anxious.

Anonymous said...

I was just telling my sister the other day that there is not one ex that I would ever want to see again. Ever. I've never been the on "friendly terms" after kinda gal...

I really hope he doesn't do anything creepy - that is very frightening to know that he could just look you up and track you down. Another reason I'm glad I quit!

Find joy in every journey said...

Oooo...that is really creepy. I should google myself...

Ann - Building a Nest said...

I'm a total FB holdout for many reasons, but the crazy exes is definitely high on the list! I would be so freaked out if I were in your shoes! How crazy is that to call you up? Freak. Plus, I am just so paranoid about having information out there.

On a side note about FB, there was a news story I saw on criminals using FB to find out when people would be on vacation so they could break into their homes. They would see their friends were going on family vacation and then go and rob their friends' parents. They did a bit of damage for a while. I used that as yet another reason to avoid the FB bandwagon.

Hillary said...

That is scary. Maybe you should have your DH call him and tell him not to call you??

Jen said...

i agree with hillary... let DH talk to him if he calls again!!!

and i have soooo much hidden on facebook... i make it so not even friends of friends can find me! and i have one guy from college blocked. he wasn't an ex but he was trying to drag me into something i wasn't a part of so i blocked him. blocking is a good tool!!!

there are some CREEPS out there!

Praying for Hope said...

It's very easy to put too much information online. I've noticed those in our parents' generation tend to be much less careful about what they put out there. MIL is notorious. My mom is better about it, but she's done some stupid things. Ann, that's a good thing to know about Facebook. I won't mention anything about the vacation until we get back if I say anything at all.

The Wife said...

Yikes! I'm on FB but I'm very selective about who I friend. Just because we went to high school together doesn't mean that we were friends. I kept in touch with those I wanted to keep in touch with. Everyone else, I'm just not bothered with.

When I set up my blog, I was very careful about making sure that no one could connect it to me irl. Just because I wanted to be able to say what I wanted to say without censoring myself.

I agree with PP that Mr. A should tell him to back off if he calls again.

Baby Hungry said...

That is beyond creepy....sorry you have to deal with this creeper on top of everything else!

the misfit said...

I honestly don't understand why people publish so much about themselves on the internet. I hadn't really thought about the exes (none of mine are that creepy), but for people with kids - seriously, kids are targets. And nobody needs to know what they look like, their first names, and where they live. (Fortunately most people are now careful about that on the web generally - but not on facebook!)