A Perfect Opportunity for Identity Theft
After reading a hub on the subject of "How To Protect Yourself From Identity Theft", I was reminded of another possibility for inadvertently giving people more information than they need to know about ourselves.
Most of us have seen those playful and seemingly innocent posts on Facebook or email that say "Fill this in with your own information and pass it on to all your friends (or post it as your status)". In fact, I saw one not too long ago that thought it was really cute... at first. It went something like this:
Change my answers using your own info, and paste this as your status!
NOTE: none of this is my real personal info... but you'll get the idea anyway.
1. Your MOVIE STAR name (grandmother on your dad's side and your favourite candy): Lori Crunch
2. Your RAP name (first initial of first name and first three or four letters of your last name): S-Blo
3. Your SPY name (middle name and current street name): Mummy Jarales
4. Your GAMER TAG (a favourite colour, a favourite animal): Coral Giraffe
5. Your STAR WARS name (first three letters of your last name, last three letters of mother's maiden name, first three letters of your pet's name): Blodenspi
6. Your JEDI name (middle name spelled backwards, your mom's maiden name spelled backwards): Ymmum Nediam
7. Your SOAP OPERA name (middle name, and city you were born in): Mummy Timbuktu
8. Your ROCK STAR name (first pet's name, the street you grew up on): Rascal River
9. Your SUPERHERO name ("The", your favourite colour and the automobile your dad drives): The Coral Thunderbird
10. Your ACTION HERO name (first name of the main character in the last film you watched, last food you ate): Ethan Chips
See! These 'fake' names are pretty funny. They were even better when I used my REAL information (not included here).
What do these answers tell you about me?
As funny as the names may be, even if you don't know me, there are things you can figure out about me from this list:
First Initial: S
Middle Name: Mummy
First 3 letters of last name: Blo
Mother's maiden name: Maiden
Paternal grandmother's first name: Lori
Current Street: Jarales
City born in: Timbuktu
Pet's name (first 3 letters): Spi (probably Spike, right??)
First pet's name: Rascal
The street I grew up on: River
My favorite color: Coral
My favorite candy: Crunch
One of my favorite animals: giraffe
The vehicle my dad drives: a Thunderbird
Do these questions look familiar to you?
To me, the phrases above look like the answers to the security questions for many bank and credit card accounts (and other places...).
If you DO know me personally, you likely ALSO already know:
my first name,
where I currently live,
and maybe even where I grew up.
And if I'm forwarding it to you on e-mail, my return address probably includes my full name.
Or, if I'm posting as status on Facebook, you can easily find my profile that includes my full name, current city, and even hometown.
That gives you even more complete information!
Be aware of what information you're sharing!
Individually, there is probably small risk in these funny little 'games'. However, in combinations like shown above, the answers you share can potentially give scammers or thieves an open door to a lot of your personal info, and to possible responses to your security questions.
I received this list from a friend on e-mail, with the instructions to change all the answers with my own information, and then forward my answers on to my friends. Guess what? I now know ALL of that information about the friend who sent it to me. Don't worry - her info is safe with me (but I just told you my friend is female)!
What looks like a simple, innocent 'game' can end up passing along very personal information OUT THERE, into someone's hands in cyberspace.
If you receive one of these 'games', please don't forward it, or post it on your blog/facebook/etc., with your real answers in it. You might fill it out for fun OFFLINE to see what kind of funny answers you get, but don't share it.
Take a second look before you hit the send/post button to be sure you aren't sharing important security information.
It's all fun and games, until somebody's identity get's stolen. Then it's just plain criminal!