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Thoughts from the Publisher | Sept. 28, 2018

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Over the last decade or so, there has been so much talk about identity theft and fraud. Those in the public-safety field have warned about keeping one’s credit cards, social-security cards and driver’s licenses protected and away from prying eyes. We have also been warned about how to recognize phone, computer, mail and door-to-door rip-off artists. I am thankful for all the advice and have implemented many of those suggestions. Although some of the folks in my circle of friends have taken the same information to heart, they have at one time or another let their guards down and have been victimized.

I don’t have space in my column today to list all of the con-jobs that have left some of my friends feeling embarrassed and ashamed of themselves for allowing such acts to take place.

I have recently uncovered what I think should be a new concern for all of us. This particular issue deals with postings we make on Facebook.

Many of us do our banking and bill-paying online. Most of those computer-generated websites ask for security questions to be answered before our accounts can be viewed.
Some of the questions I have seen are:

  • What was your first dog’s name?
  • What is your mother’s maiden name?
  • What was the name of your high school?
  • What is your favorite food?
  • What was the first street you lived on?
  • What was your first girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s name?
  • Where is your favorite place to vacation?
  • What is your favorite restaurant?

I’m sure there are many others that I can’t remember or haven’t been asked yet.

Getting back to my Facebook postings worries, I have, especially recently, been aware of questions posed by seemingly benign sources that have been asked, answered, “liked” and then shared by my Facebook friends. I have also been seeing a lot of self-postings by friends regarding where they are currently vacationing, their health issues and many other personal comments.

My worry is that some of that information could be used to either figure out email passwords or to answer questions posted by banks, etc. Below is a list of examples of Facebook information I have seen lately. Please think about participating in such postings. There might just be identity thieves out there watching and waiting for your postings to help them do their dirty business.

If your pet was on a dating website, post the photo that would be his or her profile picture… those responding, posted pictures of their pets and pets’ names.

Posting listing that she was out of town, where, name of son, and college he is attending.
That day’s photo taken at Disneyland with favorite cousin and name of cousin.

How many of you learned to dance at “Friday Nighters” in your Jr. High’s gym? Answers included which school, year and name of friends who were also in attendance.

Did you use lockers in school? Responses included name of schools and locker combinations.
Current picture of son/ daughter with teacher’s name, child’s name, grade and name of school.
My husband/wife is in the hospital with illness and name of hospital disclosed.
Ad infinitum …

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Thoughts from the Publisher | Sept. 28, 2018