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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 11:44 AM
Original message
Ive often felt more comfortable having a discussion with people I know something about. DU is great because we can all get together from our little corners of the world to share ideas and talk theology/philosophy/life etc. On the down side I have no idea who any of yall are, what you like, how old you, even if you're a man or woman. So I thought it would be both fun and helpful to get to know you all better. Share what you like, leave out what you want.

My name is Alec, Im a 29 year old guy living in Virginia where I teach High School earth science & biology. Ive been married 5 years, no kids yet but we would like to have some once my wife finishes college. She is just finishing up a degree in math. She and I met in China where I was teaching English and we want to go back to start a family there once she graduates. We have a dog (a border collie named Dublin) and two cats, Dicos & Lajiao. I have an older brother and my mom and dad are still alive and well.

I like to spend free time outdoors when its warm- hiking, camping, fishing, hunting, etc. I grew up on a farm so Ive had a love of nature my whole life. I live for music. Bluegrass & reggae are my favorites but Im open to just about anything. I grew up listening to classical (my moms influence) and motown (my dad). He always said his lifelong dream was to be a trumpet player for a band like Chicago.

I was raised a Lutheran but I never really believed any of it. I became a Christian in 2003 after some life-changing events and after I spent a good amount of time in college with some great Christian fraternity brothers.

Ive been a Democrat my whole life... literally. My very first memory of any kind was telling my dad to not vote for Ronald Reagan. :)

Heres a picture of me & my wife. :hi:

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FamousBlueRaincoat Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-11-10 11:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. introduction
I'm pretty new here, but I imagine I'll be kicking around the Religion forum a bit, so I might as well go ahead.

I'm Steve. I live in Philadelphia - not working, since I quit my last job in the last city I lived in to move here. I'm 24. Married almost two years, to a woman I've been with for almost almost 8 years, and have known for...11 years? No kids now, no kids ever. In my free time I read a lot, and listen to a lot of music. For the past 15 years I have played the guitar and written many things down in my head, but get easily discouraged when I try to materialize said things, and go back to reading and listening to the works of others. I drink many pots of french press coffee a day and also smoke many cigarettes which I roll myself. I have flirted with vegetarianism many times - right now I am re-nourishing my body with precious B vitamins, but will likely start flirting with said way of life again at some point soon.

I was raised in an evangelical family. I had serious questions about Christianity as a kid, going back to being 10 years old or so, and was an atheist probably between the years of 12 and 15. Pretty sad for a kid that young to be so serious they consider themselves an atheist, or at least in that specific case it was. Around 15 I got pretty interested in Jefferson and other founding fathers, and came to something called Deism which was quite satisfactory. I became interested in spirituality, meditation, and astral projection a couple of years later. I also became interesting in the Bible in a scholarly way. I later had several profound visionary experiences, a couple which may have been influenced my alcohol, which I experimented with for a couple of months, and a couple which definitely were not. Some people, when hearing about them, would say they were just in my head. I don't argue with them, they could be right. But if they are, I still have to deal with what goes on in my head, and I will still take it seriously.

In short, I am a monotheist. I believe in the Hebrew Bible, and in general with what Judaism teaches, although I am not, nor ,to my knowledge, has anyone in my family ever been, a Jew. I guess a simple word for me may be a Unitarian, although my interest in the New Testament is strictly non-religious. Sometimes I get really angry at Christian missionaries over their Biblical teachings (yes, I'm unemployed, so I talk to them in the park and such when they come up to me). And at first they think I'm an atheist based on my anger. And they wind up having a pretty interesting experience which I imagine leaves them greatly confused. But I still like them, even if I come off like I don't.

Politically, I am a registered member of the Democratic Party because that's what I registered as in 2004 and there's no real need to change it. I've voted Green a couple of times. And I have no qualms with skipping an election. I'm more interested in political theory, different ways of organizing society, and political movements. I am influenced by a great number of political thinkers. Anarchism and Libertarian Communism have been important, although I'd hesitate to give myself labels. Rousseau and Voltaire are probably the most important to me. I'm also interested in distinctly American figures, such as Jefferson, Paine, the anti-federalists, and also, Henry David Thoreau, who I like so much, I grew a neck-beard just to be like him. Which you can see now.

Me and my cat:

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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
2. It is dangerous
Edited on Sun Dec-12-10 10:50 AM by edhopper
to post this much personal information on an open public forum.
Please protect your identity better. You do not want to go through the hell when someone uses your info for criminal purposes.
There are ways to personally contact other members that are less public and far safer.

I would recommend you remove this post.
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FamousBlueRaincoat Donating Member (141 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Upon your thoughts
I decided to remove my picture from beneath so much personal information. But ultimately, I don't think there's much anyone could say that criminals couldn't piece together simply by searching through the posts of a specific member. It's not like anyone is posting their birthday and social security number. Stuff like "unemployed radical in philadelphia" would narrow it down to probably like 100,000 people. B-)
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edhopper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 02:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I am very careful to
never put out my name and keep the personal info at a minimum.
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #4
12. wait, so your name ISNT Ed Hopper?
jk Thanks for the advice. You are right, it is wise to be careful.
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LAGC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. You worry too much.
Short of someone getting your Social Security Number, I can't see how they could steal your identity.

You might have to worry about a stalker, but that seems like an acceptable risk most of the time.
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. You think a dedicated individual
Edited on Sun Dec-12-10 04:06 PM by darkstar3
couldn't find school records or other personal info with an SS number on it from all the information given in the OP?

As someone who has had their identity stolen not once, but twice, I think you worry too little.
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LAGC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 04:32 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Oh my. Sorry to hear that.
Was it due to you posting information about yourself publicly on message boards?

How'd they get a hold of your identity?

I guess I just don't see how given the vague information in the OP how that would make him more likely than any average Joe of being targeted. I mean, a criminal could look in a phone book and pick someone out then go to their house and tail them to work to find out the same information as was posted in the OP. Why go out of their way to target the OP?
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darkstar3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. When it comes to the internet and ID theft,
you have to understand that "they really ARE out to get you."

Why would someone target the OP? Because it wouldn't be out of their way. There are quite literally tens of thousands of people trolling the internet right now looking for information that they can use fraudulently in order to make some cash. The make a business out of it, and they make bank with it too. That's one of the many reasons why more malware was created in 2010 alone than was ever created beforehand.

Now, in the world of computer security we are very aware of WHY such individuals commit the cybercrimes they do, but you were curious as to how...

Well, first we narrow the field to high school earth science/bio teachers in VA named Alec. I have a location, an occupation, and a first name that is less common than many others, and this narrows down the possible targets quite effectively. Then I take that picture he posted and start trolling social networking sites using the info I have already, find Alec's profile, and start lining up the pieces. Even if Alec hasn't posted his SS# somewhere, it's probably on his license, attached to all of his employment and schooling records, and generally available to anyone with skill and half an hour to kill.

Now I have his SS#, a full profile of his likes and dislikes, and a location for where he lives and where he works. It's off to the races now as I open lines of credit in his name and buy things that he might actually buy so that no alarm bells are immediately raised. (This is much easier around Christmas time since it's even less unusual.) I use the credit for a very short amount of time to acquire resellable goods and then I abandon the whole thing and leave Alec with the bill. Eventually he'll find out what happened, file a fraud report, and have the charges and credit lines removed from his account, but statistically speaking I will feel no consequences due to my actions, because there are simply too many credit and internet frauds happening today to investigate properly.

(In case you're curious, I've watched this happen in demonstration during a fraud lecture.)

My case was much simpler. I didn't post any information online. My information was stolen by a work-study student in the registrar's office at my college, and then used by a network of these thieves. But while my information wasn't stolen directly from an online messageboard, my personal experience only serves to illustrate the fact that information security is NOT properly handled. Even in the military and the medical field, two places with comparatively advanced security, breaches happen.

The moral of the story? "They" are out there, and "they" really are out to get you. It's not personal, it's just business. The trick to avoid being targeted is to avoid making it easy for them. The whole business model depends on "low hanging fruit," and you can avoid giving them that by keeping your personal information off of publicly accessible websites.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
5. Your wife looks like she has a great sense of humor. nt
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-15-10 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
11. she does
:) Ive always assumed you do too just bc of that zombie gif on your sig line. I dont know if I ever told you this but it cracks me up every time I see it. Hope this doesnt sound rude, but are you a man or woman?
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AlecBGreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-12-10 08:40 PM
Response to Original message
10. hey everyone
thanks for advice re: identity theft. Just want to let you know Im reading your posts but am busy today so dont have to time to reply to all of you. Ill be back tomorrow when I have more time.
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