ALBANY, NY (WTEN)- Meet Eric. Eric doesn't know Officer Chad Hotaling and reporter Trishna Begam, but they know him, his family and even where he vacations.
It's all information Hotaling says the Eric's family may not want in everyone's hand.
"The eyes of a predator see the information," he says. "Who knows what they'll do with that information?"
So how did they find so much on Eric?
A half an hour before meeting him, Begam sat down with News10 ABC engineer Anthony Cassone. A simple search feature allowed them to track Eric's entire life through geo tagged photos his wife posted on Instagram.
The pictures paint a vivid picture of a mother's life. Her daughter, the family dog and a loving husband in front of their brand new home - seemingly innocent at first glance
In just five minutes, Cassone was able to gather the details of Eric's life, pinpointing exactly where some of the pictures were taken while other pictures spelled out their new address.
Sanjay Goel, the Director of Research at the New York State Center for Information Forensics says with more social accounts to keep track of, privacy get neglected
"It's hard for people to manage all of them."
And it was difficult to find exactly where to change your privacy settings in Instagram. You can't do it through your web browser.
Within minutes of Begam's arrival, Eric and his wife quickly found out and changed their settings.
So I just walked in the house. I made a reaction like ‘wow.' She said I already changed the settings, it's gonna be more private."
Try to access their page now and it's blocked from public eyes.
If you're on Twitter and Facebook, you're at risk too.
To protect yourself, don't post geo-tagged photos and check to see if your account is public or private.
If it's not private, you're basically an open book to the world.
Finding the privacy setting on your smartphone can be a little tricky.
Here's a how-to guide to find out more about social media privacy settings:
Facebook Privacy Help Center: https://www.facebook.com/help/445588775451827
Twitter Help Center: https://support.twitter.com/articles/14016-about-public-and-protected-tweets#
Instagram Privacy & Safety Center: http://help.instagram.com/116024195217477
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