Debunking the myth: Internet photos in the hands of criminals

SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- Over the past few days, you may have seen some national headlines that say criminals can find the exact location of where your online photos were taken. Is it true or just another internet myth?

"I believe it's true," said Angela Lafronza.

"Definitely a myth," said Kajuanna Hill

"I don't think the common criminal can do that. Are you gonna tell me the right answer?" said John Swesey.

It's a myth, according to a cyber crimes investigator who works at the Saint Joseph County Jail.

"The social media sites compress all the pictures that are uploaded," said Eric Tamashasky, legal adviser and cyber crimes investigator, Saint Joseph County Police Department. "One of of the ways in which they compress and make them smaller and make it more manageable is they strip out all the background stuff like what camera took it and the GPS coordinates."

He says the fear that comes along with this idea is a tad bit overblown and it's not Facebook pictures that lead to crime.

"I'm much more concerned that somebody with 1,500 Facebook friends who posts online 'I'm going to Florida for a week I can't wait!' That's when people back up to your house with a moving truck and empty it," said Tamashasky.

Sure, if you tag yourself at a specific location, your Facebook friends know you're there. To make sure that never happens, you can go into the settings on your smart phones, select privacy, then select location services.

Simply switch that to "off" and no location will be made public.

"Mothers across the world can relax about that particular horror of smart phones," said Tamashasky.

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