How many times will you move in your life?

 

According to data blog FiveThirtyEight, the average person will move 11.4 times in his or her lifetime. That’s a lot of moves in its own right, but the potential for younger people to move even more than that is a real possibility.

The average American will move homes more than 11 times. Photo credit: Nick Aldwin
The average American will move homes more than 11 times. Photo credit: Nick Aldwin

There are a number of reasons for this, including the effects of the financial crisis which some pundits have speculated means more younger people renting rather than buying their homes. This could naturally lead to more people moving as their leases expire for a better deal elsewhere.

Another reason for a potentially higher number of moves also has to do with the economy and people’s willingness to change cities for work. This is particularly true of younger people, who are increasingly delaying ties like marriage and having children, in addition to home ownership.

In his book, The New Geography of Jobs, Enrico Moretti argues that the United States is increasingly composed of “brain hubs” or cities with high quality jobs that attract clusters of knowledge workers. Young workers with decent skills and education may make many different circuits between cities like San Francisco, Austin, DC and New York as they seek new opportunities.

This type of brain hub landscape is a far cry from our grandparents’ world of securing a job for life in their hometowns.

However, the FiveThirtyEight article also notes that this increased mobility isn’t always the result of in demand workers chasing the next great opportunity:

When surveyed by the Census Bureau about why they moved in the past year, people gave reasons including searching for a better home (cited by 15 percent of movers), cheaper housing (8 percent), and foreclosure or eviction (2 percent). Sometimes staying put is a sign of stability.

No matter what reasons have caused your moves, there are a lot of reasons you may need to reference your past address information. If you need help remembering details you can utilize a background check service like BeenVerified’s which will give you historical address information in one report.

Check out the full article on what’s driving the moves of many Americans on FiveThirtyEight above and let us know if you are over or under the average for moves in the comments section.

Russia’s Version of Tinder Hacked—Next Target: USA?

 

 

YourEmail
Thieves have a reason for wanting your email address. Photo credit: Kevin Fitz

Bloomberg reports today that 20 million users of a Russian online dating site Topface had their user names and email addresses hacked and offered for sale via an online black market.

The owners of the dating site, which uses a similar format to Tinder here in the States, were quick to note that no password or payment information was compromised, as the the majority of users log in with their Facebook details.

So what’s the big deal with having your username and email taken by thieves?

According to an online security expert quoted in the story having these details compromised still presents reasons to worry:

Ingevaldson said such personal information usually sells quickly, to fraudsters who use automated software programs to find sites where people used the same information they did to access the dating site… Hackers are targeting popular websites to steal user names and passwords that they later use to try break into electronic-payment and mobile-phone accounts.

Here are our thoughts:

First, in an increasingly connected world, where online dating apps utilize your Facebook details and Facebook increasingly seeks to access your wallet, data security becomes even more important. Managing your passwords, and getting educated about the security the vendors you choose to do business with are essential.

Second, actively managing your online presence via social networks, online dating sites and gaming sites is no longer optional. When you grow tired of apps or social networks ensure you have removed yourself and your data from their servers as much as you can.

Leaving your username and email available across dozens of different sites with varying levels of security is just what cyber criminals want.

If you’re interested in how BeenVerified can help you manage your online presence, check out our previous blog post on the topic here.

Blizzard Boyfriends

 

NYCsnow
A blizzard is approaching NYC. Photo credit: Roey Ahram

Here in NYC we are battening down the hatches as an historic blizzard approaches. If you’d like to nerd out to the snowfall potential and how many inches we need for it to break records, we recommend the data blog FiveThirtyEight. (The number some of us are rooting to surpass, and others dreading, is 26.9 inches).

While headlines about the total snowfall, travel delays and emptying supermarkets have been common, one unusual storm-related headline in particular caught our attention from Business Insider:

New Yorkers Are Flocking To Craigslist To Find ‘Blizzard Boyfriends’ And Girlfriends.

It seems like some New Yorkers, faced with the prospect of days snowed in by themselves, have made a move to quickly find a romantic partner to shack up with and endure the snowstorm. The article highlights a number of ads on Craigslist and we imagine similar behavior is lighting up dating services across New York now.

We’ve written before about time-pressure, bad judgment and online dating in relation to Tinder, but finding a date to spend the night (nights?) alone with you on such short notice, surely pushes the limits of even a typical Tinder hook-up.

Our opinion on this topic is well known, but what about you? Are “blizzard boyfriends” and girlfriends a natural antidote to the loneliness of an incoming city blizzard, or a reckless rolling of the dice? Let us know your opinion in the comments.

And don’t worry if you need us this week. BeenVerified’s award-winning customer service team is based in sunny Florida (current temperature: 77 degrees!) and available to continue serving you without interruption.

Match.com Removes Profile of “Cannibal Cop”

 

In a reminder of all the types of people who you could possibly (and likely don’t want to) meet on an online dating site, The Huffington Post reports that Match.com decided to remove the profile of the alleged “Cannibal Cop” from its site after numerous requests from other users and strong media attention. CannibalCop

The ex-NYPD officer who was initially convicted of planning to kill women and eat them, including his ex-wife, had his online dating profiled outed this week by the New York Post in a pun-filled article that noted among other things, the man’s passion for cooking. You can read that article in full for more context on his case, but be warned, many of the details are distasteful.

We’ve mentioned before that as online dating becomes increasingly mainstream, a potential downside is that it will attract more people that you will want to avoid. These will include con artists and those with lengthy, unrepentant criminal records to name just a couple of examples.

Paradoxically, as online dating loses its stigma and more people trust and enter the various sites, there will increasingly be more opportunities to run into trouble by meeting the wrong kind of people.

While avoiding notorious potential suitors such as the Cannibal Cop may be somewhat easier thanks to the media coverage of his particular case, keep in mind that there are many more savvy and unknown characters out there.

Use common sense, your intuition and if necessary, a background check, as tools to assess any of the 40 million and growing potential dates you might find online.

New Year, Old Online Dating Scams

 

ABC 7 News reported yesterday of a woman targeted by an online dating scammer posing as a US Army sergeant. According to the official Armed Services newspaper Stars & Stripes, these types of scams are prevalent as the scammer simply steals a photo of the member of the armed forces from their social media profiles to use on unsuspecting women.

We encourage you to read the full story at the link above on how this scam develops, but thought we would reiterate some of the key points for avoiding these type of romance scams, whether they come wrapped in camouflage or not.

Beware impostors pretending to be from the armed services or international businessmen on online dating sites. Photo credit: Stefano Corso
Beware impostors pretending to be from the armed services or international businessmen on online dating sites. Photo credit: Stefano Corso

Reminder–How to avoid an online dating scam:

1. When online dating, insist on meeting in person early on before you send too many messages and form a “virtual attachment.” Your first date should always be in a public place and if you have a funny feeling, consider running a background check on your potential date beforehand.

2. Be extra careful if your suitor has reason to be out of the country to avoid a first meeting. International business people and members of the armed services make easy cover stories for scam artists.

3. Never send money early on in a relationship and especially before having met the person. Treat any requests for money as a clear red flag for a scam.

As the article states, you can also search RomanceScam.com and RomanceScams.org to search for common profile photos used by con artists.

While the tactics of scam artists are always changing, the above principles remain the same and we hope will help you avoid any trouble on your search for romance.

 

Your Stupidly Simple Password Is Begging to Be Hacked

 

 2014 was finally the year that Internet and data security became mainstream concerns from the celebrity iCloud hack to the alleged cyber assault by North Korea on Sony Pictures.

Use a creative combination of letters and numbers for your password. Photo credit: Jhayne
Use a creative combination of letters and numbers for your password. Photo credit: Jhayne

Despite the constant headlines about the importance of a strong password, it seems few of us are taking that imperative seriously, based on the just released list of last year’s most popular passwords, compiled by SplashData.

As Fast Company reports, some of the most common passwords are so simple such as “123456” and the perennial favorite “password” that one wouldn’t need a degree in computer science to hack into your computer or cloud storage account.

While you can see the full list of laughably simple and obvious passwords here, you may need a refresher on what makes for good password hygiene.

According to SplashData, here are three simple steps to make a strong password:

1. Use passwords of eight characters or more with mixed types of characters.

2. Avoid using the same username/password combination for multiple websites.

3. Use a password manager to organize and protect passwords, generate random passwords, and automatically log into websites.

It’s no surprise that SplashData offers one such password manager solution, but others include the well-reviewed 1Password which allows you to use just one password across all sites while it encrypts your information quickly and relatively easily.

Until we reach the days of ubiquitous finger print readers and retina scanners, the traditional password will be dogging our digital lives. Make yours smarter and hopefully you will stay off this map in 2015.

Five Words To Ruin A Date

 

Twitter trending topics rarely last a full day, let alone two, but #FiveWordsToRuinADate has had surprising staying power this week.

This week a dating topic has taken over Twitter. Photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid
This week a dating topic has taken over Twitter. Photo credit: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Here are some of our favorite suggestions from Twitter users around the world:

York Regional Police@YRP

“This vehicle was reported stolen.” #FiveWordsToRuinADate

Katie Zavadski@katiezavadski

“I dated my dad once.” #FiveWordstoRuinaDate

Spotify USA@SpotifyUSA

“Not a big music person.”  #FiveWordsToRuinADate

Ryan Cullen@RyanCullen90

“I wish I swiped left.” #FiveWordsToRuinADate

William Shakespeare@Shakespeare

“I will tame thee, shrew!” #FiveWordsToRuinADate

It’s clear that the Twitter universe has had some really bad dates.

While many of these situations cannot be helped (there were a surprisingly high number of toilet incidents!), some of them could have been potentially preventable with the use of a background check.

Search the hashtag #FiveWordsToRuinADate on Twitter now to see thousands of other suggestions.

Will You Date A Cyborg?

 

It’s easy to get down about online dating.

These pages have documented some of the pitfalls from the Tinder jerks that were documented in the recent “Bye Felipe” controversy, to the more concerning safety and fraud issues that the platforms can invite.

Is this the future of dating?
Is this the future of dating? Photo credit: Christopher Phin

Beyond those very really concerns, the sheer awkwardness of a first online date can be almost as bad. The person whose profile seems perfect and made you laugh with their online messages, could turn out to be a different proposition altogether in the flesh.

Maybe your date’s picture was misleading, or the person is just extremely shy making real life conversation, preventing the development of any legit chemistry.

Simply deciding on the right first date activity can be the most challenging part. Dinner is often too formal, but coffee dates can be distracting and too brief to make a real connection with your date.

Perhaps with this in mind, software developers recently demonstrated Cyborg Dating, a new twist that attempts to solve for that awkward first date encounter and create real intimacy through the power of virtual reality.

The idea is that one person wears VR goggles, such as Google Cardboard, while their partner helps supervise them and ensure they don’t fall into a ditch while navigating their virtual environment.

The pair then accomplish their “OutdoorVR” mission while the software simultaneously guides the person wearing goggles with helpful conversational prompts to avoid those awkward first date silences.

The creators of the project say that Cyborg Dating serves as a glimpse into the future when virtual and normal reality will coexist, kind of like in the movie Her.

It was unclear if the virtual reality goggles can be programmed to allow for the fake phone call from a friend in case you immediately know your date is lame.

You can read more on the Cyborg Dating project at the Fast Co. Design web site.

What do you think about this concept? Cool ice breaker activity, or date from hell in the  making?

Pinterest Improves Search With Data

 

pinterest
Pinterest is innovating its search feature. Photo credit: mkhmarketing

Visual discovery tool Pinterest announced today that it’s taking steps to improve the search functionality of its vast collection of pins.

It turns out that what other users search for can be predictive as to what you will likely search for. As Gigaom reports, they can utilize this power of the crowd through a platform called QueryJoin:

Pinterest uses a data-collection workflow called QueryJoin that helps with applying one user’s search queries and the data gleaned from those searches to other users in order to generate more relevant search results for everyone involved. QueryJoin contains data like search queries, demographic statistics, adjacent queries and pins.

Read the whole story on Gigaom here, which references Pinterest’s original blog post on the subject and has more technical info on QueryJoin.

As companies continue to harness and aggregate huge amounts of data, we can look forward to better, more intelligent searches on everything from social networks to Netflix and Amazon.

And speaking of Pinterest, check out BeenVerified’s Pinterest page where we follow our interests from beautiful craft IPAs to meditation and breathtaking data visualizations.

3 More Amazing Ways to Improve Your Life With Data

 

Earlier this week we wrote about how using public data available through background check services can potentially improve your dating life, finances and general decision-making. We suggested using data more in your life to help you reach your goals in 2015.

With the innovations in publicly accessible background checks available to you, there is no need to guess about the people and places around you anymore.

Get motivated for the new year.
Data will help keep you fit this year. Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

Equally exciting are some of the innovations involving your own personal data that you can harness to have a better year this year. Once you start tracking your data, just be careful with where and how you store it.

Here are three areas where data is set to make a big impact in your life in 2015:

Health

With Apple’s announcement of its forthcoming Watch and a string of health-related apps, 2014 was the year that smart watches and fitness trackers broke through to the mainstream.

2015 will be even better as heart rate and sleep monitors improve. You’ll soon be receiving specific recommendations about how to manage your diet, blood pressure and a personalized exercise program, if you desire it.

If Apple’s Watch is too much of a commitment, you can dip your toe into health and fitness trackers with budget models from Jawbone, Pebble or Garmin. In any case, the days of the simple pedometer are coming to an end and the data you are provided about your health with potentially help you lead a healthier life.

Car

Tired of paying higher car insurance premiums than you think are merited? Most people are. The same concept of personal fitness tracking also now applies to your car, with auto insurers and start-ups trying to disrupt the market.

Most major auto insurers now offer telematics devices that can track your mileage, the speed at which you drive and can even help determine fault in an accident. This way they can offer better rates to careful drivers.

Startups like Metromile and Automatic are taking telematics innovation further by offering per mile car insurance and the ability to run diagnostics on your car in real time.

Home

Many people are familiar with Nest, the startup recently acquired by Google and famous for their smart thermostat, and yet remotely controlling your home’s temperature is just the beginning.

Recent innovations on the market now allow you to create intelligent lighting patterns that make it appear that your are at home when on vacation, or even change color when your favorite sports team wins. Intelligent locks, home security systems and more are all in the early stages of hitting the market and are set to add value in 2015.

We hope our posts this week help you think about how you can improve your life with public and personal data.