Investigator: Secrets harder to keep these days

The case of Gen. David Petraeus’s extramarital affair and an email forwarded to Gen. John Allen prompted questions about how much personal information can wind up on the Internet.

Private investigator Ron Rugen said most people would be shocked to see what’s online about themselves. He said simply tweeting too often from a cellphone can give enough information to give out someone’s work or home address.

Rugen said as much as 85 percent of his work revolves around cheating spouses.

\”Whether it’s a potential employer or a spouse that you’re not behaving on, the first thing is don’t do anything you don’t want someone else to catch you doing if it’s inappropriate,\” he said.

He said that’s why he finds it so shocking that emails have drawn two of the nation’s top military and security leaders into the center of a sex scandal.

\”Doesn’t it blow your mind? Someone who’s a highly ranked general and someone who’s the director of the CIA that’s supposed to be the elite of our secrets of our country and he does something like this and gets caught at it? It’s embarrassing,\” Rugen said.

He said a large part of his research and information simply comes from searching the Internet, especially social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

\”Social media is wonderful for what I do,\” he said. \”Because whether you’re tracking someone down for debt or trying to find out where they’re living now, you can go on Facebook and those kinds of (sites) and see a lot of things.\”

As for emails, Rugan said that unless it’s a secured site, the user is opening the door to a world of vulnerabilities.

\”When you send someone an email, there’s something called a message header,\” he said. \”In that header is an IP address and that IP address can track you down to wherever you’re at.\”

He said there aren’t too many ways to be untraceable any more.

\”The only safe way of communication is to sit one-on-one, face-to-face with any one anymore, and even then you have to make sure you’re not being taped if you don’t want to be,\” he said.

Rugan said one of the biggest mistakes people make is not protecting their Facebook posts and allowing anyone to see them.


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