Protect your kids. And yourself.

First 4 digits of a credit card

Public Domain Image via Wikipedia

I see it all the time on Facebook, and now here too on WordPress. People post way too much information. About their whereabouts. About their homes. And especially about their children.

I’m not even going to go to the scary place of stalkers and kidnappers and pedophiles. You’d probably be shocked to find out how much information a person can glean about you, your family, and your whereabouts just by reading your blog.  And that’s not even counting all the “Please come rob me!” status updates and tweets people put out without a thought to who can see that or the fact that your security is, in part, at the mercy of your connections and THEIR security/sharing settings. Over which you have little if any control.

Please, please, please.  Think before you post.

The same bad people who will steal your identity if they can? They’ll steal the identities of your children too.

Your children don’t have a credit history yet, so an identity thief isn’t going to be able to barter on their “good” credit to build their own false one. They aren’t going to be able to steal your child’s non-existent credit card. But what they can do is open new accounts and create a credit history for your child about which you know nothing. And because your child is, well, a child, the chances are good you (and they) are not going to find out their credit has been ruined until years and years of damage have been done… ie, when they go to apply for a loan, a credit card, or a job that requires a background check.

So here is what I would like you to remember. Of course you love little Marybeth, Alexis, Dakota, Robert, Alejandro, etc. Of course the day he/she was born was a momentous, life-changing event. It’s only natural that you want to share it.

BUT, if you post details about their birth… the day, the year (sometimes by way of “10 years ago today” as if you’ve forgotten that we can do simple math), understand that you have given away critical pieces of identifying information.

Now stop and think about the rest of the information you make available. Their full name (including all their middle names), of course. What else? Have you posted where this wondrous event took place (aka city of birth)? Or do you still live in the same place so someone could guess it by knowing where you currently live? Have you talked about the wonderful new school they’ve started, or their kindergarten teacher (some banks use these pieces of information as back-up “identifying questions” – someday that posted info is going to be very useful to someone hacking the accounts of your then-grown child.)  If you’re a woman, do you have your maiden name posted as part of your profile or “about me” info? Take note: that’s very useful for letting your old friends find you but is also your child’s Mother’s Maiden Name.

If so… Congratulations, you have given plenty of information to help someone with bad intentions do damage to your child’s financial history, either now or sometime in the future.

This is just a helpful reminder to think about the sum total of information you post online… about yourself, and about your kids. Identity thieves are evil. Be smart, and do whatever you can to defend yourself and your family from these creeps.

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About aka gringita
Flotsam generator. Amateur photographer. Avid traveler. Christ follower.

2 Responses to Protect your kids. And yourself.

  1. markp427 says:

    Which is why I’m a big proponent of fake names on the blog! Although I think I have mentioned my cat’s real name. Tsk, tsk…

    Like

    • aka gringita says:

      Good man! When it comes to posting about your family, it’s all about the sharing of disinformation!

      Still, don’t be surprised if one day your cat sues you for the security breach of personally identifying information. You know how litigious cats can be. 😉

      Like

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