Be Careful About Identity Theft

It seems there are more and more ways for criminals to steal your identity. Here are two of them:

All about your coronavirus vaccine card (and what to do if you lose it)

There are various ways to document that you received a coronavirus vaccine. Some people have snapped selfies proudly displaying the Band-Aid on their upper arm. Some vaccination sites are handing out stickers. But the official form of documentation is the small white vaccination record card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which you receive after your first shot.

“You do want to make sure you keep it safe,” says Kelly Moore, deputy director of the Immunization Action Coalition. “You do want to make a copy of it and keep that on file, not because it’s the only record, but because it’s the one that you control.”

The cards also can be convenient proof of coronavirus vaccination, but experts emphasize that they are not legal documents and should not be thought of as such at this point in the pandemic.

“It is not magical. It is not the only record that exists,” Moore says. Still, she notes, if you have the card, “it’s much easier than having to go back to your doctor’s office or to some health department to request a copy of your proof of immunization. It can save you a lot of hassles down the line if you maintain your personal copy of this official record.”

Try to avoid losing the original or any copies and be careful about posting photos of your card on social media without obscuring your personal information.

“Your name is on there, your date of birth, the lot number of the vaccine that you receive,” Knight says. “You don’t want an opportunity for individuals to have personal information that they can use for identity theft or other untoward activities.”

Why you should never mention someone’s age in a birthday greeting on Facebook

How many times have you seen something like this on Facebook?

“I’d like to wish my amazing husband John Doe a very happy 53rd birthday!”

Chances are, you see posts like this all the time.

Facebook makes it easy to wish loved ones and friends a happy birthday and elicit additional birthday greetings from lots of other folks.

But that being said, it’s a dangerous practice to mention the person’s actual age in the greeting because it invites identity theft. 

As you probably know, identity theft is rampant these days and it’s very important to do everything we can to prevent ourselves and our loved ones from falling victim to it.

Having someone’s birth date makes it a lot easier for a scammer to steal that person’s identity. In fact, all that’s usually required in order to open some accounts in another person’s name is to know their name, mailing address, SSN and birth date.

A person’s name is easy enough to get from Facebook, and once a scammer has a name it’s usually pretty easy to find that person’s mailing address with a simple Google search.

That means if the scammer can somehow manage to find the person’s birth date and SSN they’ll have everything they need to begin impersonating that person online.

Of course simply revealing a loved one’s age doesn’t directly reveal their birth date but a very simple math equation is all that’s required to figure it out.

For example, the date at the time of this writing is April 18, 2021.

If today happens to be John Doe’s birthday and his wife wishes him a happy 53rd birthday on Facebook, all a scammer needs to do is subtract 53 from 2021 to learn that Mr. John Doe was born on April 18, 1968.

Of course some people have their actual birth date posted publicly on their “About” page, and that’s a very bad practice as well for the reason stated above.

But even if the person you’re sending a birthday greeting to has their birth date posted on their “About” page it’s still a bad idea to mention their age in your birthday greeting.

Why? Because they might decide to “hide” their birth date from the public at some point in the future but any old posts referencing their age would still reveal their date of birth to an identity thief.

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