Published: December, 2005 in:

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In the set up process, the member specifies their call forwarding preference, whether they would like to receive calls on
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Robert Siciliano: A multitude of situations can arise from giving out your number online. Identity theft is a growing
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FBFCU Mobile Banking Is Now Available … and FREE! Visa Alert!

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FBFCU Mobile Banking Is Now Available … and FREE! Visa Alert!

  1. 1. Published: December, 2005 in: Online Dating Magazine Authorative Insight Into the World of Online Dating Online Dating Magazine Interview with Robert Siciliano about MyPrivateLine Robert Siciliano, President of SafetyMinute Seminars, provides consumer education solutions to Fortune 500 companies and their clients. Siciliano also leads personal safety and security seminars nationwide. Siciliano is a respected safety and privacy consultant who has endorsed MyPrivateLine and Click-and-Connect, services of PrivateTel. You can visit Siciliano’s Website at www.IDTheftSecurity.com. Siciliano wrote the book, The Safety Minute, and has appeared on many national TV shows and networks like Montel, CNN, Maury, Fox News, and ABC News. He is also available to discuss online safety and privacy for online daters. Online Dating Magazine caught up with Siciliano to ask him several questions about the emergence of anonymous phone services, like MyPrivateLine, as a way to increase privacy for online daters. ODM: Thank you for sharing your time. Many of our readers have inquired about safety issues in the dating scene. As you see it, why is the need for privacy so important in online dating? Robert Siciliano: Visitors to online dating services often meet people from all walks of life and parts of the country. Online dating offers more options for singles looking for their ideal mates. It also carries increased risks of danger and violence, even for the cautious and savvy. When you’re dating online, you never know with whom you are really speaking. Some people exaggerate their looks, their age, and pass around pictures that may be unrepresentative of who they really are. Online dating chat rooms and communities are anonymous meeting places and particular steps should be taken if you’re going to meet an online acquaintance in person. Personal privacy starts with your personal number. Your phone numbers are gateways to your personal identity. They can provide your address and details about your private life. Sharing them right away with a new acquaintance is unwise. Your phone number could be reversed searched to find out your address, and someone could show up unannounced at your doorstep. You can protect yourself with privacy tools. MyPrivateLine is a good choice for online daters. ODM: What is MyPrivateLine and how does it work? Robert Siciliano: MyPrivateLine was designed by PrivateTel specifically for online dating sites where members needed more effective tools to ensure their personal safety. MyPrivateLine works by issuing a toll-free or local phone number along with an extension to online dating members. 1950 Stemmons Freeway, Suite 2045 • Dallas, TX 75207 • Toll Free: 1-800-880-5910 • www.PrivateTel.com ©2005 PrivateTel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks and copyrights property of their respective owners.
  2. 2. In the set up process, the member specifies their call forwarding preference, whether they would like to receive calls on their cell or home phone or rather have them sent to a MyPrivateLine voicemail box. When a potential dating prospect dials your anonymous MyPrivateLine number and extension, the call is forwarded to the number you specified. Members can communicate without having to reveal their real phone numbers until they are more comfortable with one another. ODM: Could this end up being a service that an online dating site offers to all of its members? Robert Siciliano: PrivateTel offers the option of bundling MyPrivateLine along with general membership services. The decision is really up to the Web site owner. The ability to issue MyPrivateLine accounts to all members of an online dating community can be implemented with minimal integration. Another PrivateTel service, Click-and-Connect, is also an excellent service for dating and social networking Web sites. Click-and-Connect allows one member to initiate a phone call with another member with a simple click of a mouse. Once you click on the button, the service places calls to both parties, connecting them instantly and privately. ODM: How much more safe is using a service like MyPrivateLine over a person giving out his/her private unlisted cell phone number? Robert Siciliano: As stated earlier, your phone numbers are gateways to your personal identity. They can provide your address and details about your private life. Sharing them right away with a new acquaintance is unwise. By using MyPrivateLine you don’t have to worry about providing that gateway to your information. Unfortunately, not enough people take this as a serious risk, though it can lead to robbery, assault, identity theft or worse. With MyPrivateLine a person cannot find out any information about you unless you explicitly reveal it to them. ODM: So are you saying that a person can get an address and details from an unlisted cell phone number? Robert Siciliano: A “skip-trace” is when investigators search out someone whose skipped a payment on a debt. People have been skipping payments since the beginning of credit. Over the years, tools of the skip-trace trade have evolved with technology. And, all these tools are now available to you and me. Cellular phones are as commons as landline phones now. There are dozens of ways your cell number can be obtained. Often we give it out when buying something online, ordering a pizza, or entering as raffle. Sometimes a private investigator will even call you posing as someone who they are not, we call them cons, or “social engineers”. Information in its many forms is bought and sold all day every day. To see just how available your cell number is Google “cell phone search” its unnerving. , Then go online to zabasearch.com and plug in your basic info. You’ll see why I always recommend people give out only their first name until they are sure of the safety of their date. ODM: What type of situations could occur from people giving out their real phone number? How different is giving out a real phone number to someone online versus giving it out to someone they met at a bar? 1950 Stemmons Freeway, Suite 2045 • Dallas, TX 75207 • Toll Free: 1-800-880-5910 • www.PrivateTel.com ©2005 PrivateTel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks and copyrights property of their respective owners.
  3. 3. Robert Siciliano: A multitude of situations can arise from giving out your number online. Identity theft is a growing problem and very hard to track. All sorts of personal information can be found with as little information as your phone number. With your phone number, it is simple to find your address and even a map to your home. This can result in harassment, stalking, and assault. Imagine giving your number out and finding that person at your door with criminal intentions in mind. If people don’t safeguard their information, situations like this can occur in alarming rates. It is also unwise to give out your phone number to a person at a bar. Giving out your number online, however, opens up a world of possibilities. You are giving the information to a stranger who you’ve never met, and now that person can use your phone number to do online searches about you. Unfortunately we live in a technological world and there are ‘bad’ people out there. ODM: Keeping that in mind, let’s say a person is using a service like MyPrivateLine for an anonymous number. When would that person know that it’s the “right time” to give out their real phone number? Robert Siciliano: The “right time” to give out your number depends on your personal situation. I would suggest only doing so after you have spoken to an individual via email, and over the phone using a service like MyPrivateLine. Make sure to have spoken about the person’s background and asked any important questions you may have, as well as seen recent photos. A few months ago, KVBC-TV of Las Vegas, Nevada, reported an online dating experience that ended in violence. The victim—no stranger to the dating scene—turned out to be a regular relationship columnist who apparently corresponded with her attacker for many weeks leading up to the incident. If a woman who writes a regular, published column on relationships is susceptible to violence in a dating situation, then all women should take heed. If you do meet someone who you talked to online, it makes sense to tell a friend or family member where you are going, and who you are meeting. Or, simply leave a detailed note about your plans at home. Meet in a public place, not your apartment, and keep it short. A quick coffee at a popular café will allow you both to get a feel for each other, and you can decide if you want to get together again. Online dating can be a rewarding experience. The payoff is even greater when people date safely. ODM: Good advice. Thank you for your time in helping us better understand the importance of safety online. 1950 Stemmons Freeway, Suite 2045 • Dallas, TX 75207 • Toll Free: 1-800-880-5910 • www.PrivateTel.com ©2005 PrivateTel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. All other trademarks and copyrights property of their respective owners.

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