From GOT7‘s Youngjae to NCT‘s Chenle, numerous idols have found themselves targeted by sasaengs (stalker “fans”) recently. And unfortunately, the problem has been going on for a long time. Former idol Soobin, who is still a victim of stalkers to this day, recently took to YouTube to explain how obsessive sasaengs get when it comes to getting their idol’s personal details.
California-born Soobin joined girl group Blady in 2013 under the stage name Tina, leaving when the group disbanded in 2017. However, even though she’s no longer part of the K-Pop industry, she’s still targeted by a problem all idols have to deal with: sasaengs.
Soobin revealed that in January this year alone, her social media and email accounts were hacked by invasive followers twice. Of course, as a former idol, this isn’t the first time she’s been hacked. In the past, both Soobin and her friends have had their phone numbers and KakaoTalk accounts exposed.
Unfortunately, numerous idols have suffered the same fate. Often, during live broadcasts, idols are inundated with calls and texts from stalkers. All these incidents prompted Soobin to talk about something everyone wants to know—just how do sasaengs find idols’ phone numbers to begin with?
Why are you so interested in my personal life?
Naturally, Soobin didn’t want to release any specific details that other stalkers could follow, but she did lay out two of the worrying methods obsessive sasaengs use. The first involves phone companies.
In South Korea, salaries for customer service staff at phone companies are relatively low. As a result, they often recruit younger people looking for simple jobs. Soobin went on to explain that security and privacy is relatively poor at these companies. With easily acquirable information like a simple name and date of birth, the customer service workers can quickly pull up anyone’s phone number.
So, to get idols numbers, sasaengs seek out the young people who work at these companies and pay them to find idols’ phone numbers.
Soobin told viewers that many idols change their phone numbers regularly to try to avoid calls and texts from sasaengs. However, since phone numbers in Korea need to be registered under a legal name, it’s easy for obsessive stalkers to find them again and again. According to Soobin, the only way to prevent this is for idols to ask their family or acquaintances to register phone numbers for them.
Next, Soobin talked about KakaoTalk—the most popular messaging app in South Korea. Many Koreans have their numbers connected to KakaoTalk, so sasaengs can easily find idols’ messenger IDs if they already have their phone numbers. However, even idols who don’t connect their numbers to KakaoTalk have been hacked or found in the past.
That’s because many new stars who have little experience with stalkers set their KakaoTalk IDs to something easily guessable. Soobin said that the security level on the app is relatively low, so fans can keep typing in ID guesses (such as the idols’ name and birthday combined) until they find the account they’re looking for. And while it must be scary enough for idols to be contacted by stalkers trying to get close to them, Soobin mentioned that it gets worse—many people actually use the information to blackmail idols.
In short, Soobin urged sasaengs to “stay in [their] lane“, saying that there’s no good in being obsessed with someone else’s private life.