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Latino Daily News

Friday February 18, 2011

Using Social Media for Crime in Mexico

Though kidnappings and violence are still a very real issue in Mexico, people are still vacationing there, but security professionals are warning wealthy vacationers to be aware that kidnappers are now using social media to collect details about them.

Michael Guidry, founder and CEO of a Texas-based company, The Guidry Group, which helps physically protect its wealthy clientele, says that the popularity of the internet, specifically social media, is putting people at great risk, as they do not understand how much information they are putting out there.

While it is unclear just how many kidnappers are utilizing social media as a means to “cyber stalk” potential targets, Guidry said they’re using smartphones, Google searches, and other high-tech devices to research and locate those taking trips.

Even something as harmless-seeming as posting, “Leaving for Cozumel tonight!” as a Facebook status can make someone a target for kidnappers.

To add to the threat, kidnappers are now nabbing people more often, and for much lower ransom amounts. The lower ransoms are likely an attempt to get money more often rather than get more money from each kidnapping.

“[What’s happening in] Mexico is teaching us a great lesson. Well you normally think that a kidnapping would be a million dollars. Now, Mexican Mafia and drug cartels are going after people a lot lower on that totem poll, and asking for $100,000 or $25,000. So now I do five of them in a day and I get my money, where if I only did one big one, it may take me two or three months to get my money.”

He adds that information on social media is “extremely accessible” and “you can just look on the internet under Google.”