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The Investigators
Are you giving directions to danger?
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Internet mapping services - they're powerful and simple. In fact finding someone has never been easier. But these on-line recourses also present some alarming safety concerns.

Gone are the days of trying to sift thru maps to find someone. In seconds you can find door to door directions to almost anyone online- and that convenience sometimes ends up in the wrong hands.

Everyday, in every corner of the globe, people are connecting online- sometimes to look up a long lost friend or relative. And finding that someone has never been easier. Especially with the use of high tech internet mapping. It can be used for legitimate use to get from point A to point B.

But internet mapping has also been linked to shocking crimes. A serial killer used the mapping service to show where he dumped a body. And dangerous stalkers have used the service to hunt down their victims.

So just how easy is it to use this service? We interviewed a state police computer crimes detective- and get this: all you need is a phone number.

So we decided to investigate. Eyewitness News approached a complete stranger at a Cranston library and asked him to participate in an on-line experiment. He agreed. He gave us his number and we went right to work.

We typed his digits into Google.com. In less than 2 minutes, using just his phone number, we got door to door driving directions to his home. We hopped in the car and headed out. Keeping track of the time, it was seven minutes into the game- the directions were very clear heading onto Reservoir. And in less than 30 minutes we surprised our complete stranger- showing up right at his front door. Pretty scary when you think about it. Eduardo Rodriguez says he'd think twice about handing out his phone number to anybody.

With cell phones, beepers or email it's really hard to trace. Harder for that person to find you also. Think twice about leaving your home phone number on line.

This info never goes away- info pieced together to build a picture. Be aware of what you give out. The problem is never going away- so what's your best protection? A non published phone number can't be traced on-line. You can also block sites like google from divulging your private information by filling out a removal request form.

To test to see if your phone number is mapped just go to Google or other search sites and type in your number. And if you want it removed, click on the request form. It takes 48 hours for your number to be removed.

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