Am I prey? Could be.
As a new real estate broker I'm a bit leery of meeting strangers in strange places. We typically work alone. Because it's our job to be in empty or vacant places with the people we don't know, we can indeed be sitting ducks in a shooting gallery. Fish in barrels. Easy pickings.
I'm taking steps to mitigate the risks, are you?
I also don't for a minute believe the internet or digital world holds any personal privacy or any real security. I know terrible and invasive things happen in cyberspace, and really I don't much care in terms of my personal involvement.
If someone wants to access my web cam and watch me stare at various monitors during my day and they are OK with witnessing the occasional nose-cleaning or teeth-picking, have at it. I think most people have better things to do.
If someone wants to track me via digital stealth apps, go ahead and try. I'm not very exciting, and I mostly go to boring places in the day-to-day scheme of things. I also have apps monitoring my applications, and regularly review my phone for unknown installs. Does that mean I'm hack-free? No. Am I going to obsess about that? No.
Overall, though, I think most people have better things to do than invade my digital privacy.
What about you? Your children? Your elders?
Am I paranoid? I don't think so.
Awareness of the possibilities and then taking action to be prepared does not equate to paranoia.
Prepare, practice, adapt, adjust, rinse and repeat.
Am I prepared? I like to think so, but it's an ongoing process. Some of the things I'm doing:
- Train mentally, and physically.
At home and when I travel I have a loaded and easily accessible handgun. I wouldn't enjoy using it but I'm trained to use it and mentally prepared to use it; I'd not be shy about it if I truly felt a life was at stake. I often also carry a knife, and can pick out nearby items which could be used as a weapon if needed.
I observe, I trust gut reactions to people and situations, and I'm mentally prepared to defend myself and others if needed. Would it be good to develop a higher base level of awareness? Sure. Could I be more physically fit? You betcha! Could I do with formal self-defense training? Absolutely. I am also a realist, even if I were fully fit I'm not likely to be able to outrun a predator. Being prepared to use weapons and learning self-defense are probably my best bets.
- Documenting whereabouts.
My husband can figure out where I am at any time (and vice versa) via shared calendar entries, routine digital and phone communications, and/or one of those tracking devices we use voluntarily.
This is information that someone might choose to hack then use to find me, but it also means it could be used to trace my travels, pinpoint my last location, explain what I was doing, and possibly who I was with, for investigative purposes should the need arise.
- Getting ID, before meeting a contact.
Customers I don't already know will be asked to send me a copy of their driver's license then meet me in a public place before I go off with them on a shopping spree.
Knowing their name, address, height, approx. weight, eye color, hair color, and making sure what's sent beforehand matches up with reality upon meeting, well, it's all good stuff for identifying a perpetrator after an incident.
- View and record.
We have multiple security cameras in the house tracking the comings and goings of people (and dogs). Anyone who shows up at our house is on camera and a recording has been made. My smartphone camera is set to auto-upload images to the cloud. I can have my phone in hand and take a picture or even video as my appointment person approaches to capture current appearance, clothing, etc. and then off it goes into cyber-space.
The police would be able to use those recordings or still images to help identify an attacker if things went horribly wrong. It might take some time to find the files unless someone (e.g. hubby) points the investigators to the storage location, but I have faith in the e-detectives. They'd get there eventually.
- Two is better than one.
When possible, my husband or another broker that I know will be asked to accompany me on showings or for meet-ups, and I'd be happy to be the additional warm body for other brokers that I know.
It's not that two people together can't be victimized, just that two heads paying attention and analyzing a situation are better than one.
NONE of this PREVENTS foul-play, up to and including death, but if someone's intent on playing foul with me they should also be ready to get either hurt, or identified quickly, or both.
What it does do, though, is reassure me that I'm taking the steps *I* need to be able to do what I want to do without obsessing about what-ifs, being too afraid to live life, generally fretting about my safety, or getting into a dither should a situation arise.
All of that gets in the way of living life and in the way of survival in the heat of a moment if a situation turns dire. I think that preparation both mentally and physically will help build a mindset and/or series of reflexive actions which could help prevent, avoid, or get out of a situation be it in cyberspace or the real world, but maybe that's just me and my own little delusion.
What are you doing to secure your own peace of mind and safety?