Be careful out there!

jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.netThe other day the phone rang – it was HMRC

It turned out that they had the wrong number.  The number they had was our number but we’d never heard of the business they wanted to discuss.  Of course, data protection acts etc. meant that they couldn’t give us any more details apart from the desired company name and our phone number.

However, I was intrigued.  I’d hate to think that there was a chance that someone had given HMRC our number as it could, possibly, become a hassle.  So I thought I’d spend five minutes on the internet.

  • Within a few seconds the Companies House online service had confirmed the existence of the business in question…
  • It also mentioned a London Gazette entry – Interesting…
  • It also gave me the name of the director…
  • A few seconds later I found him on LinkedIn…
  • So I now have a picture of him…
  • It also told me of another business in which he is currently involved…
  • The website of that business gave me an address…
  • Then 192.com confirmed that the electoral roll had him resident at that address…
  • It also gave me his wife’s name…
  • Then the online planning office gave me the floor plan of his home.

Within a few moments this quick experiment had given me a scary amount of personal data.  All available free-off-charge for a few moments work on the internet.  It was quite an eye-opener and a reminder that it isn’t easy to stay private or ‘off grid’ these days.

Is it too easy to get such information, and more restrictions should be in place? Or is it up to individuals to take more care about what they publish?

Be careful out there!

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About Adrian Fowles

Business advisor, finance mentor and cash coach - Turning your pipe dream into a revenue stream - http://acf-associates.com/
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One Response to Be careful out there!

  1. Mike Harper says:

    Some friends have had people attempting to gain credit in the name of their limited companies recently. One fraudster had even created a fake website for the company to back up their attempt. Obscurity is no answer to security though. I think creditors and other parties need to improve their processes so that, even armed with lots of information, a fraudster can’t get what he wants without proper authentication. Knowing your date of birth and mother’s maiden name really don’t count in my opinion.

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