One of the threats of the online world that we often forget about is identity theft. It’s easy to forget about those kinds of dangers as we are going about our business online. It’s one of those kinds of things that you don’t truly appreciate until it actually happens to you.
Fortunately it’s never happened to me, possibly because I have such a unique name that I probably don’t make as suitable a target. Still I have it in the back of my mind what a danger it is.
Just by exposing too much information online, you could be giving someone the keys to your identity. Then suddenly they could be applying for loans and credit cards in your name. You may not be the one racking up those bills, but it will all come back to haunt you.
Finance bloggers in particular tend to put themselves at even greater risk for this kind of thing. So many times I see bloggers listing item for item how much money they spent each day and even exact balances on loans or credit cards.
They don’t stop to realize that those exact financial details are often used by credit card companies to help verify identities. I always think of those bloggers when I’m on the phone with the credit card company and they ask me to list recent transactions. I’m reminded that those bloggers are giving away valuable info.
Fortunately the bloggers that get that personal do tend to be the ones who are blogging anonymously. Really though, it wouldn’t be too difficult for a hacker to find out the person’s real name. I recall googling a first name only blogger and was able to find out her last name very easily. And I’m no hacker…nor was I stalking her lol.
Once someone shady has that extra info, it wouldn’t be tough to find out more about you. Maybe they’d just need to snatch some government issued mail from your mailbox. Or maybe your facebook profile would conveniently list your birthdate, making it even easier.
Sure, in all probability you’d be able to get that kind of stuff removed from you credit history, but you’d have to fight to get it taken care of. Who wants to deal with that kind of stress and wasted time? Plus you might not notice until you are trying to actually use your credit for a loan or mortgage. This would just set you back.
So don’t be surprised if I never share any specific financial numbers here on my blog. I understand the risks that this exposes. I don’t want to make it any easier for people who would stoop so low.
If you are a blogger and you are exposing that kind of stuff, you might want to reconsider that decision. At the very least, make sure it is not easy to find out your real name. That may not completely protect you, but it at least makes it a bit tougher.
What are your views on the identity theft risk for bloggers? Do you think we are a better target that anyone else? Is there anything extra you do to protect your identity?