I enjoy a good snoop — when I’m in a house that’s not my own, I have been known to rifle through a drawer or two, check out the medicine cabinet, and try on the owner’s clothing (including a wedding dress once). A few months ago, when my fiance was out of town, I went through all his photos of him with his ex-girlfriend. Sometimes, if he leaves his laptop on and his email is up there on the screen just BEGGING for me to take a looksie, I’ll glance, but never actually open anything. Then again, I have never seen anything that got my curiosity brewing beyond control.
The point is, everyone snoops, at least a little, and no one more so than the protagonist of the book I’m reading, Whacked by Jules Asner. It’s chick lit, but it’s not crappy or badly written, though it’s definitely beach-worthy. In the book, Dani uses her skills as a writer for CSI-esque crime show to snoop on everyone from the owners of the open houses she attends to her no-good boyfriend. I have to say, I was pretty impressed with her tactics and tips, as well as some of the handy online tools she used, so I decided to assemble a guide to snooping, after the jump. Don’t blame me if you get caught red-handed though. I am hardly a professional.OK SNOOPING
Checking Email. The most common passwords are “password”, the person’s first name, “12345″, and “abc123.” This should go without saying, but if you crack into someone’s email (which, by the way, is totally against the law), be sure to mark all the messages you did read as “unread.”
Diddling Digits. Going through his electronic phone book or his cell’s contact list and see the names of people you don’t want him contacting? Whacked‘s heroine Dani changes a single digit to make it impossible for her boyfriend to call them again — and in this day and age, who actually has numbers memorized anymore?
Find Anyone. Desperate for someone’s contact info so you can, I dunno, send them a hate letter? A lot of people’s phone numbers and addresses are “unlisted,” but ZabaSearch.com can find almost ANYONE.
Money Talk. Asking someone how much they paid for their apartment is rude, rude, rude! Miss Manners would much prefer you just look up the price online at Zillow.com. Plug in an address and you’ll find out how much the property sold for.
Political Affiliations. Want to size up a potential date to see if you see eye-to-eye on political issues? The government makes anyone who donates to a political campaign disclose their personal info — FundRace.com allows you to look up people by name or address and find out how much they contributed in the last presidential election.
Candid Camera. Want to know what goes on when you’re not around? Leave your laptop or home computer’s Video Chat feature on all day so you can watch it remotely for any funny business.
NOT OK SNOOPING
Stealing Prescription Medication. Whacked‘s Dani goes to an open house and pops into the restroom to check out the contents of the owner’s medicine cabinet — that is totally OK and legal snooping. However, she then says that since the owners were stupid enough to leave their prescription medication out, it’s no biggie if she takes a few pills, since they’d never notice. This is stealing and is very, very, very bad. Especially bad if the pills you’re stealing are birth control pills.
Opening Mail. The person who steals Catherine’s New York magazine every week clearly doesn’t remember that messing with someone’s mail is a federal offense and a CRIME. That’s why you should never open his, say, credit card bill to see if he’s gone out for a pricey romantic dinner without you. Of course, if his credit card bill was just laying out and you saw that kind of information, you could call the restaurant and pretend to be his potential date, looking for an item you “lost,” and then see if they remember you coming in.
“Ahh, yes miss, I remember your beautiful blond hair! You were here with your boyfriend making kissy faces at the most romantic table! But I’m sorry, we don’t have the sweater you say you left here …” BUSTED!
Installation Violation. Installing any sort of program on someone else’s computer that allows you to access private information is so not cool. However, if you share a computer with your beloved, you can install whatever you want! Like a keystroke logger which will literally record anything he types!