Thoughts about Personal Security and ID Theft

In today’s world, we all need to keep a close eye on our personal security to protect from ID theft. Those of us with children need to be aware of this issue.

We all have seen these cute ‘memes’ to make up silly and entertaining names about ourselves.

Stop for a moment and consider the details being asked in this meme. Two characters from your last name … that is not such a big deal as your name is usually available on social media account details. But then your age, how number of family members and the number of pets you have? Now twist this from being a funny or cute game to being an avenue to collect sensitive data.

Someone reading the replies to this meme can identify how old you are. Depending upon their purpose this helps to narrow down who they will ‘deep dive’ for data collection.

Next data point to collect is the number of your siblings. A web crawl of your profile, posts and other web site activity they now know the names of all your family. People important to you are often preferred identify verification for loan and credit applications.

Final data point is the number of pets you have. Again, this triggers another web crawl, looking for pictures of your pets and their names. A lot of people use their pet’s names as a part of their passwords. The photos of your pets help identify what kind of pets you may have at or in your home. Large, active dogs? Local thieves are less likely to try breaking in, when they see you have posted that you are out and enjoying life, when they know you have large and potentially dangers (to them) pets. But a photo of Belle the teacup dachshund you keep in cage when you go to work with the information that you have only one pet … you just became a prime target.

There thousands of these kinds of memes all over social media. Many of them come from the same place or group of people who take the time to make them. A few scraping scripts and all the data collected across different memes is collated and soon they have a full dossier of who you are, what you like, your family, your home town (add in a google search and get an address?) and so on. This should start to scare us all when we realize just how easy it is to collect data on people.

Still doubt how this works? Find a meme like this, where obscure pieces of information are asked for. Look in the comments and choose a random participant. View that person’s profile and look for other, similar data collecting memes they have responded to. Pay attention to their answers. Can you see a more complete and data specific image of their life and existence? Now, if you have teen aged children who are all over social media, do this same exercise with them.

This is easy data to collect that can lead to identity theft or worse. Be aware of what information you are posting to the public internet and how that innocent information might be turned against you.

If you would like more information on how this kind of data can and may be collected or used, call Indy’s I.T. Department, today, ate 371-560-4443, to learn more.

By | 2017-02-02T19:46:22+00:00 February 2nd, 2017|Documentation, Policies, Security|0 Comments

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