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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:00 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:26 am
Posts: 710
Location: Kuala Lumpur
I don't know the answer to this, i'm not an IT expert and don't mean to be dramatic, but i have wondered about the possibility.
A bike thief would simply need to link a desirable bike with an address. So how might he do this? The first bit is easy, he (or she!) trawls members signatures (links to 'my bike' threads) and gets a nice photographic overview of all the lovely bikes that specific members own. Now he just needs to track us down. The profiles of many of us have email addresses, links to facebook and twitter etc, personal or company websites and in many cases location by town. I guess a thief could probably identify a target by real full name quite easily using these channels, for example make 'innocent' enquiries to the target's Facebook contacts to find out full name, address, email, or groom the target in 'pm' to get a name or email address. Once they have a target's real name, their chances of finding you increase dramatically. They could even buy something cheap - or get someone else to - from a member using Paypal which would gain them a target's email address. Armed with an email address a hacker could possibly identify a regularly used IP address, maybe using other data to link this to a street address. The internet is notoriously insecure and there are some very clever, malicious hackers out there who can achieve more than most of us imagine. It seems to me there are multiple ways that Retrobike members could be traced.
I never intended posting this until i read July's MTBUK in which they warn of bikers being followed home from trail centers and their bikes subsequently pinched, so obviously thieves are willing to put in some effort and thieves might do even better doing a couple of hours intelligence gathering on this website than sitting all afternoon in a trail center carpark and driving around. True that the thieves might prefer newer bikes but many of us own both retro and new.
Without wanting to spoil the fun or create a panic i do suggest members to review just how much information a thief might potentially be able to find out about you when he uses Retrobike website as a starting point. There is one member on here who's avatar info even states his location as a specific building (a pub) in a specific town! I hope his lovely bike collection is not kept in a shed round the back... Take care guys and gals.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:09 am 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
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Location: Nth Somerset, UK
It's an interesting thought, and is one of the reason's I don't list my bikes in my signature, however.

All of what you describe is possible, but it's an awful lot of effort and time to spend on nicking some old bikes, which frankly, are not worth much given that stolen bikes are usually sold off cheap.

Nicking a current, top of the line all bells and whistles 29'er or full susser is going to net your average scum bag a lot more than a pristine 1991 Marin Bear Valley SE.

Still, it does not mean we are not targets, as at least one member has had his garage roof cut open in order to get at the bikes.

Food for thought.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:22 am 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:42 pm
Posts: 3192
Some fair points, but I think it's a balance. On the MTb side most of the bikes are, in absolute terms, not that valuable outside of this little community. So I'm not sure any woodbe thief would do that much homework to land a '88 Saracen!


Of course there is a set of top end bikes, with values in the (low) Thousands. Hopefully these bikes are kept a little more carefully anyway, but you are right to remind people of the risks.

On the plus side, this forum and other forms of social media do help to expose theif, help recover stolen bikes and reduce the easy of reselling via eBay/gumtree for example

So be sensible, enjoy the forum, and don't get too hung up about it.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:23 am 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:16 am
Posts: 799
Location: Camden, London
if I had an extremely valuable bike then yes, possible concern but I think cyber crime and identity theft in general is probably more of an issue


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:26 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:31 pm
Posts: 2366
Location: The Cave of Shame
You should always be circumspect about what you put about yourself in the Internet - however targeted bike theft is a tiny proportion of actual bike theft and even more so for retro bikes in my opinion since very few are worth real money - those that are would be very difficult to get rid of again unless stealing to order.
Personally I would say you've got more chance of getting run off the road or wrecking your retro in a crash than someone stealing it in a targeted way.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:39 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:26 am
Posts: 710
Location: Kuala Lumpur
Yes my post might be exaggerating the risk, i don't know frankly. However i just spent less than 5 mins looking at a few member profiles. I found one guy and without even leaving this website i know his real name, year of birth, town of residence and he owns four bikes two of which are retro and two are newer and high-end (we're talking S-Works). I don't think it would take much time or effort to get this member's home address if i simply knew the right channels (databases, routes of enquiry, dodgy people, whatever). I could probably achieve it within a few minutes and without even leaving my couch. I don't think this scenario is far fetched and there are probably criminals who would find it quite easy. Note also that at any given time there are far more 'guests' active on Retrobike than members and they know far more about us than we do of them. I agree though that there's no need for paranoia - perhaps just be a bit careful folks, that's all.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:43 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:10 am
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Location: Heathfield, East Sussex
...but how many times do we hand over out Postal addresses without giving it a second thought when we buy something from an anonymous seller?


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:09 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:26 am
Posts: 710
Location: Kuala Lumpur
We_are_Stevo wrote:
...but how many times do we hand over out Postal addresses without giving it a second thought when we buy something from an anonymous seller?


True and not impossible but this scenario is a bit different and i think it's doubtful this would be a risk. A thief would need to be operating passively (offering items for sale and lying in wait for a buyer who just happens to show desirable and/or new bikes on his profile). Doubtful a thief would be so patient. Theives are far more likely - i think - to be operating actively rather than passively, they would be the ones initiating contact, snooping, identifying targets. Also, i'm assuming bandits are more likely to be 'guests' rather than 'members'.


Last edited by RadNomad on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:12 am 
South East Deputy AEC
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:27 pm
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Location: Angmering
you are far more likely to be put at risk by people watching you leave your house with any number of the bikes you own. It just takes one dodgy neighbour...


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:29 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 9:29 pm
Posts: 1877
Location: Somerset
Retrobike's been going long enough that if people were selling goods to gain address' of buyer's with bike collections to steal. Then all of our bikes would have been stolen by now.


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