It is really amazing how much people will tell you if you just listen.
Go to an airport and sit in the departure lounge and start a conversation. Ask someone if they live in the city or are they just visiting and pretty soon you will get a complete story, more often than not more than you wanted to hear.
On one trip back from an overseas location I sat next to a family. During the trip I found out where the father worked, how much he made, where they were headed, how old and when the birthdays were and what they were carrying for cash. Their oldest daughter, after taking a couple of hours with me even told me secrets her dad told her and asked her not to repeat. Amazing!
One other time I learned about a company making a new remote device for a military contract that was on the design board and was causing this individual to work lots of overtime and travel (She was complaining about being away from the family so much). When asked about the project she told me anticipated schedules, costs, etc….
These conversations by themselves are not so much but when you start to put these tidbits together they will often create an interesting picture.
Technology today has really helped of course. Please are worried about email hackers but they forget about the electronics the carry around.
I have several devices that when close enough to a person will read the contacts and text messages off a phone, pull data through unsecured laptops, blackberries, iPods, smart phones and just about any other so called smart device. Of course some people do put in security codes, most likely 1 2 3 4 5 though that are easily broken. It takes about 1 ½ seconds to run code cracking software on a smart phone. If that doesn’t work then a stumble and a picked pocket will produce the required amount of time to obtain access. Of course when you are done you just place the device back on a seat or turn it into security as a lost device. People are so happy to get it back they never request data about who returned it or what happened.
There are those times when I have to do some digging, those cases when someone is really security conscious. That’s when we get to be deceptive and root around desks; houses, mail boxes, garbage, etc… and our jobs get a little more exciting.