Imagine your daughter makes the honor roll. Her school sends home a bumper sticker celebrating the accomplishment, and you proudly stick it on your car.
It probably seems like a harmless way to spotlight your daughter’s hard work — but did you know privacy experts actually advise against broadcasting personal information, such as the name of your child’s school, in a public place?
Whether you’re driving around town or posting something online, little shares can lead to big reveals. Unfortunately, it can be all too easy to expose where you live, where you go, and the nuances of your schedule — the very details that could embolden a criminal searching for opportunity.
No need to fear, though: with Allstate Identity Protection, your customers have a partner in privacy. Check out our list of common overshares and how your customers can avoid them.
What can a car say about its owner?
If your customers are concerned about their privacy, it makes sense for them to avoid school-specific bumper stickers. It wouldn’t take much legwork for a criminal in the next lane to determine school drop-off times — and possibly pinpoint when their family won’t be home.
If you think about it, many common bumper stickers may reveal an awful lot, such as:
- How much we pay for our kids’ education
- Our professions and, by extension, an estimate of our salaries
- Whether we attend church
- Whether we own guns
- If we’re in the military — and thus away from home for long periods of time
All of this information could be of keen interest to thieves looking to plan a break-in. And this type of theft has a big annual impact on Americans: according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, property crimes in the U.S. resulted in losses estimated at $16.4 billion in 2018 alone.
It’s no surprise, then, that some law enforcement officials recommend avoiding custom family bumper stickers — the kind with a different personalized stick figure for each member of the family.
These popular decals can actually reveal a ton about your customers and their loved ones’ locations and schedules. For example, a proud Army family might opt to show an enlisted parent in a military uniform, while an athletic daughter might be depicted kicking a soccer ball. These fun flourishes may unwittingly reveal that one parent is deployed overseas, while the rest of the family is often out of the house in the evenings for sports practice.
When it comes to bumper stickers, it can’t hurt to take a “less is more” approach.
Can a house give you away?
Schools and churches often encourage members to display front-yard signs advertising their programs, but your customers should think twice before placing such a sign on their lawn. Just by looking up the price of tuition, drop-off hours, or church-service start times, passers-by could easily glean insights into your family’s financial situation or regular schedule — all information you wouldn’t want to fall into the wrong hands.
Bottom line: It may seem like a nice idea to help an organization advertise or boost enrollment, but not at the expense of your own privacy.
Should customers share their workplace online?
Doing so may make your customers more vulnerable to targeted phishing attacks.
People are naturally more likely to click on a malware-embedded link if they believe it was sent by their company’s CEO or HR department. Skilled fraudsters can impersonate legitimate people from your organization in order to gain access to your company’s network or your personal information.
If your consumers enjoy networking on LinkedIn or other professional sites, there’s no need for them to give that up completely. But it’s a good idea for them to be mindful of what they share and to monitor their inbox for these common signs of phishing:
- Blurry images or typos
- Misspellings in the sender’s email address
- Unexpected requests for highly sensitive or personal information
- Links to sites that don’t begin with “https” (the “s” stands for secure)
On social, it’s all too easy to overshare
Everything we do online leaves a trail, which can add up to a big reveal over time. Since criminals use social networking platforms to identify victims and steal their personal information, it’s best to be extra careful about what we add to our digital footprints.
Before sharing something personal online, stop and consider what it says about your location or regular schedule.
Seemingly insignificant details in the background of a photo (like, say, a house number) could say more than one intended, while a handful of posts from the same coffee shop may reveal a predictable daily routine. Your customers should consider embracing “latergrams,” or the concept of posting something at a later time than it actually happened. After all, a real-time selfie from a trip to the Grand Canyon may signal to thieves that no one is home.
If your customers have Allstate Identity Protection, our powerful technology can help keep their information and identity safe with features like:
- Credit monitoring: If a criminal starts exploiting your consumer’s credit profile, we’ll let your customer know as soon as the new activity is detected — and our experts will coach them along the road to recovery.
- Social media monitoring: Once your customers link their social accounts, we’ll alert them if we see content in their feed that could lead to reputational damage or indicate account takeover.
- Dark web monitoring: We’ll reach out right away if bots or human operatives discover your customer’s information on the dark web.
Ready to get started?
If you are interested in a demo or an overview of our integration capabilities, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to review our new technology platform, show you the future of identity protection, and help design a solution that will work for your company and your customers.