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  1. #31
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am & Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    PGB1's Avatar
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    You have her in your contacts list? Nope. She's no where on my computer, nor phone. She isn't on her phone or computer either.
    I did an Easy Find search for the phone number on my computer. It is on the receipts for when I add money to the phone. However it is in an encrypted sparsebundle. Again, her name isn't there.

    He says he's texted her, that could be the link. I must have written poorly. I never have texted Grace. Only advertisers have. She doesn't know how to text, so it didn't go outbound.

    So it's not what SHE has done, but what YOU have done, Holy Smokes Jake! Don't tell her that or I'm a dead man!


    The only entities that I can think of who know her real first name, other than family, are the church in Detroit where she was baptized in 1954, the city department of health record of birth and probably the Catholic grade & high schools she attended in the 60's. So, somewhere in the Archdiocese exists Grace's full name. I am sure it is stored digitally in their records. Do they sell that stuff? Doubt it. And, they sure don't know her phone number. She's not even registered at the parish.

    My only other guess it that about 3 years ago Grace had emergency surgery. I used her partial name on all of the paper work. (The Marie did not appear). But, perhaps she was in that hospital system as a child, thus the real name. It would be easy to link with her birthdate. It's a remote possibility, but who knows?

    Jake & Ian have me thinking really hard about this.
    You guys are right- The link between phone & real name has to be somewhere. It might be a long trip to make the connection, but if there is money to be made figuring it out...
    That phone number must be out there in a place that it can be linked to Grace's real name. A relative on Facebook is the only place one would find her full name being used in writing.

    Since no one has the cell number, but our home phone (VOIP with Ooma) is known by her relatives and her relatives use her full name- there must be a way that it all got linked.

    We've never put the phone on line, not even for an update. It does not even have the home network name. But mine has been on line often- and on the same home network as Ooma. Also, both of our phones are AT&T. And our computers and her iPad are on that same network. It will pester me until I figure out the path that linked them all together.

    My best guess at this point is that AT&T or Android (Google) can connect the phone to the internet without our knowledge to get an update or something. They must be able to velcro the pieces together to link the name Grace's relatives use and the phone number. How the number suddenly became hers & not mine is still a mystery.

  2. #32
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am & Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Was she born? (Yeah, I know, silly question, but it's pertinent, trust me.) If so, the state/country where she was born will have a record of that, with the full name, and most of them are now digitized and online for genealogy research, so getting her full legal name is not that hard to do. Did she go to school? College? All of that history is available through public records. Add in your marriage registration, her driver's license, voter registration, real estate transactions (buy/sell/pay real estate or personal property taxes), credit applications (Mortgage, car, credit card) etc., and it's easy to put you and her together. Now add in an Android phone reporting everything done on it and Google has all it needs to make a list with her full name, phone number, address, family, etc., for sale to whomever has the money to buy it. Along comes a health care company who also knows she is a patient with Dr. X, is of an age to get close to Medicare, may be on AARPs radar as well, and you have the text to that number, hoping it's her. If it isn't, they have no real loss. If it is, they *might* win if she buys insurance from them. The wins are just frequent enough to pay for all of the misses, so it's a good business move. Freaky to you (and her) but just business.
    Jake

  3. #33
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am & Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    pm-r's Avatar
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    Freaky to you (and her) but just business.
    And not to forget the good old fashioned Phonebook that is still published in many areas, as well as City Directories that many cities publish. Lots of valuable information both Publications.

    And of course the king of personal info... Facebook and their affiliates!!!


    - Patrick
    ======

  4. #34
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am & Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Jake, you explained it all very well. The path to information makes very good sense.

    I was stuck on the fact that the use of Grace's whole first name isn't on Social Security, IRS Taxes, Marriage License, Driver's License, etc. But it is on Catholic church & school records. That church can find anyone. My old Catholic grade school found my current address, so why can't hers know stuff too? (Although her parish is long gone, the archdiocese surely has the records.)

    Pinning a 1950's female with "Marie" in her name to a Catholic church is easy, so that gives someone a direction in which to search for records. In Catholic grade schools, it was easy to figure out which girls belonged to the Catholic church. In my multi-ethnic Catholic school, we had Catholic, Jewish, Islamic students and kids from various Christian denominations- as well as non Abrahamic faith children. The Catholic girls all had Marie or Mary in their names. I think it was a law or something. (Oh yeah- And they all had at least 6 siblings...)

    Grace's city of birth is Highland Park which is a separate city inside Detroit. Highland Park certainly has her whole name from birth records. I've heard of data leak notices from that city more than once. So her stuff is certainly out there somewhere, as well as at Highland Park & Wayne County data banks.

    You used one key word: "Genealogy".
    I asked Grace if she ever searched around on an ancestry site using her real first name. She said sure. (Makes sense) She also searches by both her married last name and her original last name. And she's searched with my name & her short name. I'm sure the ancestry sites, as well as Google are more than happy to sell what they find out.

    Studying what you said above, Jake, here's my take on one path to invasion:
    An ancestry site can link her real, full name & her short name to our IP address. They can also link her original & married last names to our IP address. They can link my name to the same IP address. My phone can link my name to the same IP address. Since AT&T knows my phone & hers (in my name) are at the same address, they have a match. If I picture all the above laid out on pieces of paper, it is easy to draw a line connecting the papers.

    You also mentioned AARP. She is a member, but with her short first name. They have her address & our house phone number, but don't have her cell phone number. They know she is over 50 (to join up), but haven't been specifically given her birthdate by us.
    Any hospital or doctor she has dealt with surely has her short name, age and address- another link in the chain-of-privacy. In the US, health care providers are required to comply with HIPPA privacy laws, so supposedly none of that is shared. Supposedly. (Check out openpaymentsdata.cms.gov Doctors are more than willing to accept money for other than healthcare reasons.)

    So, when we add up what you said, along with what is in the paragraphs above, and consider how things can be narrowed down (as exemplified by Panopticlick) the snooping business is easier than I thought it was. My phone gets a lot of random texts for odd stuff, so your mention of that they might win sounds right. Maybe a dozen other people got the same "Grace-Marie we can sell you Medicare insurance..." text. It probably doesn't cost them anything to have the computer send the texts to many people.

    Here, however, is the icing on the link-it-all-together cake:
    Today MY phone number got a text message saying "Grace-Marie it's time to pick a Medicare Supplement Plan. Call us to ..." The names "Grace" and "Marie" appear no where on my phone or computer. These entities are mighty good a linking stuff together. Personally, I'd use those talents to get a real job.

    So, in retrospect we would have been way better off sticking with two-tin-cans-and-a-string phones. They worked great when we were kids.
    On the bright side, Grace doesn't have to be terribly concerned wth keeping her phone number private 'cause is sure ain't working!

  5. #35
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am & Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Sorry Patrick, I didn't see your message when I was typing my way too long reply above.

    I didn't even think of phone books. We get many different ones delivered here. I can't check them today because they go straightaway into the recycle tub. I'll surely check the next one.

    Grace does go on Facebook, but without her long name or birthdate & certainly not the precious phone number. She said she doesn't type anything to people there, just looks around. But the Facebook people are famously good at digging deep.
    I've never been to Facebook or any social media site on any computer or phone I've owned, so I should be in the clear. (Yeah, sure I am!)

    Sites are really snoop-crazy as evidenced by checking Safari - Preferences - Privacy - Manage Website Data.
    I just tested by opening Safari in a private window and typing only Amazon.com & pressing <enter>. After Amazon loaded I went to Manage Website Data. The list was huge! And this was before I searched for anything. So much for Private Window. I can only imagine what Google and Facebook do when on one of their sites. (I tried the same test by going only to this site. Even after logging in the list was empty. Kudos to Mac-Forums for keeping our data private!)

    I forgot about obituaries and county death records.
    I'm sure Grace's 'real' name Grace-Marie appeared on the obituary notices & death records for her parents and on obituaries for her grand parents. Those records are both here in the US and in Canada, as well as probably Scotland. Wow! Her name sure gets around!

  6. #36
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Paul, while HIPPA is an attempt at privacy, if the doctor is in a practice that is associated with a medical vendor who provides coverage for Medicare patients, the data gets shared. Not specifically for marketing, but once the vendor knows about the patient, at least name, age, contact information, etc., then it's easy for the marketing dept to use that data to "offer opportunities" for her. It's clear from the text you got today that they don't know which phone number is yours and which is hers, so they are going to both.

    Bottom line, it is almost impossible to hide from the big data gathering. Never have a phone, mobile or otherwise. Never have a computer online. Never have cable, internet, electricity, water, sewer from anyone. No credit cards, no loans. Never use your SSN. Never vote. Don't own any property. Never fly. Never buy anything requiring an ID card. No driver's license. No bank account. No job.

    Basically, be homeless.

    Not much of a life, frankly.
    Jake

  7. #37
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    krs's Avatar
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    Reminds me of some fun I had a few years ago.
    I was in a forum frequented by seniors where the topic of "privacy" came up.
    One lady there was absolutely sure that she was anonymous since she only has some initials as her handle.
    For fun, just because she made such an issue about her privacy, I decided to see what I could find out about her...and told her I would do that.

    So I just went through her posts on that forum, picked up a few bits and pieces here and there, did a bit of googling, eliminated people who she couldn't possibly be and eventually ended up with a photograph were she (I think) was shown with a local politician at a fund raising event.
    Took me maybe two hours.

    I either posted the picture or sent her a pm with it - can't remember, but I got back a "Oh My God!"
    So I assume I hit pay dirt.
    I stopped at that point because I was actually feeling uncomfortable starting to dig around in her private life.

  8. #38
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    Cr00zng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    Was she born? (Yeah, I know, silly question, but it's pertinent, trust me.) If so, the state/country where she was born will have a record of that, with the full name, and most of them are now digitized and online for genealogy research, so getting her full legal name is not that hard to do. Did she go to school? College? All of that history is available through public records. Add in your marriage registration, her driver's license, voter registration*, real estate transactions (buy/sell/pay real estate or personal property taxes), credit applications (Mortgage, car, credit card) etc., and it's easy to put you and her together. Now add in an Android phone reporting everything done on it and Google has all it needs to make a list with her full name, phone number, address, family, etc., for sale to whomever has the money to buy it. Along comes a health care company who also knows she is a patient with Dr. X, is of an age to get close to Medicare, may be on AARPs radar as well, and you have the text to that number, hoping it's her. If it isn't, they have no real loss. If it is, they *might* win if she buys insurance from them. The wins are just frequent enough to pay for all of the misses, so it's a good business move. Freaky to you (and her) but just business.
    *-Emphasis mine...

    If your intent had been to scare me, you've succeeded Jake...

    The largest verified data source is coming from the federal, state and local governments. Just like the voter registration, most of government records are public. Here's a link to Arkansas voting records:

    Registered Voters in the State of Arkansas, U.S.A.

    You can search other states as well, all you need a family/last name and you'll have:

    1. Full name
    2. Date of Birth
    3. Address
    4. Phone #, if provided at registration
    5. Etc...


    The site also allows downloading the data base free of charge. You can request removing your name from the data base, but that's just like closing the barn door, after the horses left. The data brokers, who also downloaded the data base, will not remove it from their record.

    When you're trying to protect your privacy, just keep in mind that the your government had already sold you out...

  9. #39
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    No reason to be scared, just cautious. I don't worry to much about what is in public domain because my entire life history was stolen in the breach of the government (Office of Personnel Management) files where applications for security clearances were held. Those applications contain my entire life history--addresses, relatives, references, jobs, everything. I immediately changed all my passwords and signed up for Lifelock to lock down my accounts and notify me of any activity. The Gov't also offered ID protection for a while, so I have that running, too. What any voter registration file has is trivial compared to what was stolen at OPM.
    Jake

  10. #40
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    chscag's Avatar
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    Off Topic a bit....

    Actually Jake, you and I don't know what information, if any was stolen about us. The breach you refer to was that some government idiot left his computer in his car that had an OPM personnel data base on it. The computer was stolen from his car after the vehicle had been broken into. Whether the thief or thieves used the data that was on the computer or they just took the computer for its value is unknown.

    However, I agree with you 100% about not taking chances about our personal information.

  11. #41
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Charlie, Lifelock has reported that some of my information is in the Dark Web. Don't know if it was from OPM or the other breach, the one that got my daughter's application (that included our family information, of course).
    Jake

  12. #42
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    chscag's Avatar
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    I hear you. When OPM notified me of the breach, like you I decided not to take the warning lightly.

  13. #43
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGB1 View Post
    At the end of the session I did my usual practice in Safari: A) Close All Tabs Except One B) Send that page to my home page, which is "About:Blank" C) Clicked "History" and chose "Clear History". D) Clicked "Develop" and "Empty Cache". E) Closed Safari. If I have been at private sites, such as banking, I'll also open Terminal and type "dscacheutil -flushcache". I did the above steps, without Flushcache after the session when I visited Humana.

    Yikes!! ...
    Days later, I went back to Humana and it said "Welcome Paul. Here are your last viewed plans" (or words to that effect). I was surprised and shocked that they knew me and the stuff I looked at last time.
    (It picked my zip code as the one where the ISP's dish farm is located the first time I visited, but I'd imagine it got that from figuring out where the ip address is entering the internet. Lots of sites seem to do that part.)

    I'm absolutely positive that I cleared history & cache after the first visit. That habit is in my DNA.
    I also know that I did flushcache later that day, after moving around (lots of) money to the checking account so I could pay for health insurance. (An American tradition!) The computer had been restarted several times between Humana visits.
    You could make this habit of yours a whole lot easier and more foolproof using Cookie, an app that manages cookies, browser cache, and more. You can set it to automatically toss cookies, cache, and/or history either every x minutes; on browser quit; on login; etc. You can have the behavior work differently across different browsers and whitelist sites that you may want to keep logged in. I cannot recommend this app highly enough for privacy-minded folks.. it's indispensable. They have a free trial and if you pull the trigger, I recommend buying direct from the developer, not the App Store, just because a lot of apps off the Store can be hobbled thanks to Apple's restrictions.

    Cookie by SweetP Productions

    BTW, if you aren't using an adblocker, you absolutely should be doing that also as another layer of protection.

    Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
    ------
    Links: Onyx | Find Any File | Apple Hardware Test | How to test your hard drive | DetectX: Malware monitoring and removal | Uninstall MacKeeper
    ------
    Lifeisabeach - Mac-Forums Member of the Month June 2009, Feb 2012, and March 2013.

  14. #44
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    PGB1's Avatar
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    Paul, while HIPPA is an attempt at privacy, if the doctor is in a practice that is associated with a medical vendor who provides coverage for Medicare patients, the data gets shared. And, I suppose there may be a few medical office & billing clerks who aren't all that honest about keeping data private. That's a good reason to leave the Social Security number part of the medical office form blank.

    What CR00zng mentioned about the public records reminded me, if I remember correctly, in Michigan one can pay $5.00 to Secretary of State office & get the information of who owns a particular license plate.

    You could make this habit of yours a whole lot easier and more foolproof using Cookie...,

    Thanks Lifeisabeach! That application sounds helpful to also accomplish one thing I can not figure out- keep one cookie. (Specifically DuckDuckGo preferences.)

    BTW, if you aren't using an adblocker, you absolutely should be doing that also as another layer of protection. Thanks for the reminder!

    One security item that my wife mentioned to me is a very good plan for people with a US Social Security number: Register for your on-line Social Security account even if you have no intention to interact with them for many years. Include your children. This is intended to help to prevent someone from hijacking your account. I doubt it is 100% effective, but certainly can't hurt. I checked into how it's done. The process is fast. There is a extra step if your credit is frozen. One must un-freeze and re-freeze when done with Social Security registration. There is a link to the appropriate page in the Social Security registration page.

  15. #45
    A Web Site Mysteriously Knows Who I Am &amp; Details About My Last Visit. Scary!
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    And, I suppose there may be a few medical office & billing clerks who aren't all that honest about keeping data private. That's a good reason to leave the Social Security number part of the medical office form blank.
    Medicare, for those who are on it, for a long time used the SSN as the Medicare number. That then gave the medical providers your SSN with no ability to keep it out of their hands. Now they issue special numbers to replace the SSN, but the horse is long out of the barn.
    Jake

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