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Doxing: Compiling information using online sources

Chances are unless you’re in law enforcement you’ve never heard of doxing.

The definition of doxing is compiling personal information about people without their permission using sources online.

People can be victimized by tweets on Twitter, pictures posted on Instagram, or even places checked into Facebook.

Most people use doxing out of pure curiosity and is completely legal, but others take it the extreme and it results in stalking.

Tracy Perkins is a detective with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department Cyber Crimes Task Force.

Perkins said doxing can be the first step in stalking someone and it’s even the way most detectives start their investigations.

She said social media is the easiest way for people to fall victim to doxing.

“You might as well just go home and open up your front door and say come on in my house, all thousand follower’s. You come on into my house because you’re going to know everything about me,” said Perkins.

Social media sites, such as Facebook and Instagram, are popular sites to post pictures and the location you’re currently at.

Perkins wants people to keep one thing in mind. “Anything you upload, I can download,” said Perkins.

This is where doxing really comes into play. There’s also several things that can happen after someone compiles all of your information. You can fall victim to things like sexual assaults and burglary. However, identity theft is the biggest one when it comes to doxing.

Captain Doug Shoemaker with the Jefferson City Police Department says identity services like LifeLock can help prevent this from happening.

“Many times if people gain your person information they can open accounts and if you have one of these services that monitors your credit, they can alert you when it happens,” said Shoemaker.

Perkins said one way to prevent your identity from being stolen is to privatize your social media pages.

Another way is by simply turning your location services off on your cell phone.

This way when you do post something to your pages it doesn’t tell anyone where you are.

She also recommends protecting your cell phone number. Social media pages like Facebook ask for your number to make it easier to connect with people. It does, but it also makes it easier for thieves to steal your identity.

“When it comes to your identity and it comes to your own person self-being and who you are… You can’t replace that,” said Perkins.

She said people don’t have to necessarily deactivate social media accounts to stay safe, but make sure your security settings are all on.

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