Don't let your car give strangers too much personal information

Monday, July 8, 2019

Perhaps you’ve seen those warnings about taking Facebook “quizzes” to share your “Starwars” character’s name with your online friends.

Answer the list of apparently harmless questions, and next thing you know, you’ve given away your mother’s maiden name, birthday and hometown to an online identity thief.

But we never thought about another warning, posted by an Alabama sheriff’s office, about the dangers of bumper stickers.

Using the back end of a mini van as an example, the meme points out the dangers.

A “proud of my Cental High honor student” sticker lets strangers know where you kids go to school.

A city-issued sticker lets them know your general address, and those stick-figure family decals can be surprisingly informative to the wrong people.

In the example, a dad uniform could tip criminals off that the man of the house may be deployed or at least is gone a lot. Mom’s attire may indicate she’s a medical professional likely to work at night, kids dressed for sports mean they’re at practice after school, and a small dog, complete with name, is no threat to a potential burglar. Add names to other members of the household, and a lot of personal information is available to a tailgater or ne’re-do-well strolling through a parking lot.

McCook is in the running for “America’s Nicest Place,” and with good reason, but that doesn’t mean residents shouldn’t take reasonable precautions, especially while traveling this summer.

Checking the information available on the back of your car is a good start.

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