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A Scary Thought

Posted by A Scary Thought on April 9th, 1999 02:08 AM
In reply to Your Smallest Fan! by Tracy Garcia on February 18th, 1999 05:08 PM [Go to top of thread]

I know this is kinda long, but it's well worth the read. A very good friend of mine sent it to me. When I saw your post, I just had to pass it along to you. PLEASE take a moment and read this.
Scary stuff for you web surfers!..........true story

Shannon could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward
home. The thought of being followed made her heart beat faster.

"You're being silly," she told herself, "no one is following you."

To be safe, she began to walk faster, but the footsteps kept up
with her pace. She was afraid to look back and she was glad she was
almost home.

Shannon said a quick prayer, "God please get me home safe."
She saw the porch light burning and ran the rest of the way to her
house. Once inside, she leaned against the door for a moment,
relieved to be in the safety of her home. She glanced out the window
to see if anyone was there. The sidewalk was empty.

After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack
and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213.
She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent
him an instant message:

ByAngel213: Hi I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following
me home today. It was really weird!

GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be
following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?

ByAngel213: Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination
cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.

GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done
that have you?

ByAngel213: Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.

GoTo123: Did you have a softball game after school today?

ByAngel213: Yes and we won!!

GoTo123: That's great! Who did you play?

ByAngel213: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so
gross! They look like bees. LOL

GoTo123: What is your team called?

ByAngel213: We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our
uniforms. They are really cool.

GoTo123: Did you pitch?

ByAngel213: No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has
to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at
me. Bye!

GoTo123: Catch you later. Bye


GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her
profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He
took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so

Her name: Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
State where she lived: North Carolina
Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and
going to the mall.

Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she
had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every
afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played
softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was
named the Canton Cats.

Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in
the seventh grade at the Canton Junior High School. She had told him all
this in the conversations they had on-line. He had enough information
to find her now.

Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home
from the ball park that day. She didn't want them to make a scene
and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were
always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was
not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents
wouldn't be so overprotective.

By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following
her. Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring
at her.

It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her
second base position to see a man watching her closely. He was leaning
against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at
him. He didn't look scary and she quickly dismissed the fear she had

After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the
coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He
nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her
shirt. He knew he had found her.

Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few
blocks to Shannon's home, and once he saw where she lived he quickly
returned to the park to get his car. Now he had to wait. He decided
to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house. He
drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his

Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices
in the living room. "Shannon, come here," her father called.

He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room
to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa. "Sit down,"
her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story
about you."

Shannon moved cautiously to a chair across from the man. How could he
tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!

"Do you know who I am Shannon?" The man asked.

"No," Shannon answered.

"I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123."

Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible. GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14
and he lives in Michigan!"

The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true. You
see Shannon, there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was
one of them. But while others do it to find kids and hurt them, I
belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators.

I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to give out
too much information to people on-line. You told me enough about
yourself to make it easy for me to find you. Your name, the school
you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played.
The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze."

Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in Michigan?"
He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think
I was so far away, didn't it?" She nodded.
"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky.
The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are
taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the
time on-line.

The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here
and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for
them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope
you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again."

"I won't," Shannon promised solemnly. "Will you tell others about this so
they will be safe too?" "It's a promise!" That night Shannon and her Dad
and Mom all knelt down together and prayed.

They thanked God for protecting Shannon from what could have been a
tragic situation.

Please send this to as many people as you can to teach them not
to give any information about themselves. This world we live in today
is too dangerous to even give out your age, let alone anything else.

Be safe.

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