Minnesota, USA April 5, 2011- Most people received emails from companies such as Target or Best Buy, which warn of attacks that 'did not expose credit card number or other personal information'. We, concerned individuals, start questioning whether our information is safe anywhere even though we do everything we can to shop online at legit businesses. To make it worse, stories are circling over the cruel behaviors of these vicious thieves who take stealing to another level by finding ways to rub their devilish deeds in victims' faces. Indeed, it is frightening; it gets scarier as I think of the information that we voluntarily give online. There is nothing private anymore and it is opening us up to further abuse.
We need to step back to see the whole picture; we are not only exposing ourselves but very young children as well, whether it be our own children or someone else's. If we are facing stolen identity problems now, imagine the terror the generations to come will have; most children by the time they are one year old will have a digital footprint.
To make it worse, some are even sooner where pictures of sonograms are posted. It may seem harmless because eager parents post them out of excitement. However, does anyone stop to think of the information that is on those sonograms Anything such as the name of the hospital or other information is used today as 'security' questions for various accounts today. What happens if there are enough tidbits online for someone to piece together an entire individual who is too young to even know Fraud could occur long before anyone would even think of checking.
I do not mean to cause too much fear. There are steps that should be taken to protect you and the children of today; this means that everyone must stop for a moment to think of what could be done with each posting of pictures or other information. Every detail that we put on any site, such as Facebook, is compiled into a digital profile of us. Just because we have high privacy settings does not mean this information cannot be copied and shared elsewhere. Like most know, we can delete something online but it will actually always be there anyways. I remind everyone of this because we cannot change anything we have posted up to this point, however we can change our ways by being more cautious.
In addition, no one should be surprised that anyone can trace anyone's steps just by using online social networking sites, 'check-in' applications, or any other site where someone would post information that could give hints to someone's location. It could go without mentioning, but this could lead to a scary situation where stalkers are getting 'smarter'.
Again, be cautious; however, do not be so afraid that you think that you need to run away from all websites. There are obvious advantages to sharing with family, friends, and business partners. Overall, I encourage all of the fun moments to be posted as long as personal information is not tucked within it. We have enough to worry when it comes to hackers. Let's not make ourselves an easy target for identity theft or scary stalkers.