I see the Private Trees are taking a lot of hits here. My trees have always been public, and I can't think of any reason to change. But recently I contacted a Private Tree with a request to share information. I don't want to be too specific about this because I don't wish to cause any problems. The Private Tree person did nothing wrong or become outright alarming, but it set me to thinking.
First of all, my experience with contacting other members has been a bit puzzling. It seems that an email or two are exchanged, but it just quickly dies out. This happens with nearer relatives too. Some great information gets exchanged then suddenly they stop communicating. I would say that my contact history averages about 2 exchanges of information with the vast majority being one time. You'll have to take my word for it, but I don't feel like I am obnoxious or prying. When a link goes dead, I just let it stand. All the same, I find it a little strange.
Now to what I wanted to get at for this post. Got a DNA match of a rather close nature. Sent a message to private tree owner. Received an enthusiastic reply and a promise to get back. Business as usual, but I got a kind of "hair raising on the back of the neck" feeling. When I looked at the profile certain claims did not seem likely. Other items changed within a day of our communication. It set me to worrying what could happen if there were people out there who weren't here for the same reasons as the rest of us. I'm not interesting, rich, or famous, so I don't see any reason for anyone to try to get information for the wrong reasons. I'm not naturally paranoid. I just wondered if anyone had any observation about the security issues.