Recently a friend of mine ran into one of those random crazy people that seem to exist on the internet for the sole reason to make it worse. My pal posted a Craigslist classified ad for some collectable items and received a response shortly after by someone claiming to be interested. Everyone who's posted on Craigslist is used to the classic scammers, however stalkers and creeps are normally safely kept over at the shady dating section that you don't go to... he didn't expect what he got.
On the internet, you're best defense is anonymity to the public. Here are a few common tips:
- Don't make your profile information public (Facebook, MySpace, etc)
- Don't post your where-abouts
- Don't post your phone number or email address
- Its even been recommended that you don't share photos of yourself
Going back to the story of my friend, he like most people who use Craigslist used Craigslist's random email address feature (the one that looks like email@example.com). That's great and all, keeps people from collecting your email address for spam easily, but it only one way and only for the first email. When you reply to someone's email to you at that email address, it responds using your normal address and now that person you don't know has your email. He responded and next thing he knew, they guy turns out to be a freak. Worst of all, he has his email address which is the same one my friend uses for Facebook which just supplied the weirdo with his personal info.
Long story short, if you want to keep that distance between you and your internet (and all the creeps that come with it), keep in mind who gets your email address because it could make it very easy for them to get your other information.