Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Dot-Con Video - Genealogy Scam Revealed?

Ray Beere Johnson (on the APG Public List) pointed to a Microsoft advertisement that demonstrates a potential scam involving genealogy and family history. As far as I can tell, this was created by an advertising company and carried off as sort of a "Candid Camera" type event.

The YouTube video is here:

The genealogy scam part of it is around the one minute mark, and is very telling. It's amazing what information that people will provide in response to questions posed by a seemingly legitimate company.

Thankfully, this hasn't happened to anybody, yet. Or has it? We all need to be careful about the information we are asked to provide to obtain goods and services.


Aylarja said...

Randy, interesting video about a couple of staged "candid camera" type scams, and the cautionary reminder it gives us about carelessly passing out personally identifying information.

I see this as an enormous concern with the rise of social web sites such as Facebook where many people unwittingly offer a huge amount of information about who they are, where they live, the names of their children and their children's schools, vacation plans, and so forth.

From a genealogical standpoint, there is a recognized concern about publishing information about living relatives or a living person's mother's maiden name. And anyone who has researched living individuals is probably more than a little shocked at how much information can be gleaned about a person from a simple Google search.

The Internet didn't create this problem - it just made it an order of magnitude more complex. And it requires that each of us be always vigilant.

Mavis said...

I've seen that commercial a few times.

Celia said...

Sigh - A friend of mine used to say, "85% of people think they think!"
and this is one excellent example.