Dear Madame L,
In your review of Amazon.com, near the end of the article, it talks about being scammed due to family relationships, similar to what you mentioned in a previous post.
I just became aware of a Facebook app (at least, I think it's an app--I'm not sure) where you can enter all sorts of familial relationships and have this program come up with how many "degrees" of relationship you are away from any given person, such as one of your Facebook friends, or a celebrity. It's called "Kin2," as in "Who are you kin to?"
While I think it's a pretty cool thing to figure out, I'm nervous about the fact that it uses the very public site of Facebook as its interface. I've made a point of not accepting Facebook "relationship" requests in the past, specifically because I don't want the whole world to know if or how I'm related to my Facebook "friends."
But this Kin2 seems to take those relationships to a whole new level, tying them in to your family tree and everything. With all the identity theft going on in the world out there, and other kinds of scams as well, I'm really nervous about putting that information out there.
What do you think about that, Madame L? Have you heard of Kin2.com? Do you think it's legitimate and safe and all that?
Too Many Connections
Madame L had never heard of Kin2.com until she read your comment. She typed kin2.com in her browser and found that it doesn't appear to be a real website, but a portal for people who want to buy the that name and/or register for it.
Madame L would have gone to her Facebook page to look for the "Kin2" app there, except that she has stopped using Facebook once because of the intrusive apps and information collection going on there; and is seriously considering stopping again, once and for all.
This is because Madame L feels very uneasy about those apps and others like them, to the point that, like you, Madame L has declined in the past to accept invitations from friends on Facebook who are also relatives. (Madame L feels that everyone she's related to knows they're related, and Madame L doesn't see the need to broadcast that information.)
Similarly, Madame L doesn't accept every invitation from the very nice people at LinkedIn.com to be linked with every person she has ever worked or rubbed elbows with.
Madame L has also very recently had the experience of someone telling her, "We looked you up on [some genealogy site] so we could find out who your mother's mother was and where you were born." That didn't bother Madame L because that someone is a relative, but Madame L is bothered by the idea that anyone, related or not, and for whatever purpose, friendly or not, can access that same information...
...And, therefore, any scammer can call you to tell you that Aunt Louise, for instance, is stranded in Mexico City and needs you to wire a thousand dollars, and can tell you when and where she was born, who her husband and parents are, and so on...and you might, being the kind and generous person you are, send that money.
So, Madame L hopes you'll resist the temptation to use that app. Please write again to let Madame L and her other Dear Readers know what you've decided.
And, other Dear Readers, if you would like to contribute your own opinion and experiences to this discussion, please do so, because we all benefit from each others' experiences and knowledge.