Google alerts is a service from Google that will send you an email or update a RSS feed when it’s crawler hits new data from your search term(s). IFTTT is a service that lets you set up actions in response to triggers. BoxCar is a service that let you send custom notifications to your phone. I’ve combined all three of these services to help protect my personal information online.

I’ve spoken about BoxCar in the past (I wrote my own .net wrapper to their web API, available on nuget). I’ve used both Google alerts and IFTTT for a while. However it was only recently that I thought of combining them all in order to get almost instantaneous alerts on my phone whenever any information is posted on the internet that I need to know about right away. I’ve already had this system tell me when apparently Kevin Kinnett was arrested multiple times recently. I look really bad in that picture ;-)

Maybe 5 years ago I set up some Google alerts to update RSS feeds search for several numbers that I would never ever want to see appearing anywhere on the internet. These include several of my credit card numbers, my social security number, my drivers licence number, etc. Luckily these Google alerts have never hit.

I then set up a IFTTT ’trigger’, which in this case is an new post on each RSS feed. IFTTT then sends a message to my BoxCar account, which I have set up on my phone. I get an almost instant notification and link to the relevant information and I can take action if need be.