Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Online Privacy and Safety -- Financial Safety

Whenever you share online, whether it's a scrapbook page, a family tree, or through social media, privacy needs to be on your mind. I was recently asked about sharing part of a family tree that has some privacy issues and it is a very complicated subject.

Over the next three days I will share my thoughts about online privacy in three areas: financial safety, physical safety and emotional safety.

Financial Safety

You probably know the information to help protect yourself from identity theft. But what about your children, siblings, cousins and parents. Can you be revealing information that could lead to their financial lives being compromised?

Thanks to the genealogy explosion, mother's maiden name is no longer a good security question. When you have the option to pick another security question at your bank, do that. Advise your children and siblings of that, also. I never reveal my city of birth or my real birthdate. I lie like a rug about my birthdate except when it is legally needed.

Review your security settings frequently on Facebook to be sure your privacy wishes are being honored. If you use other social media where that information might be available, monitor that, too. And be mindful of what you post about your family members.

If you post a family tree online, make sure that birthdates for living family members are not showing. A former in-law posted family birthdates in the format 4-5-67. Ancestry did not understand that format and so revealed information that should have been private. Have a friend or relative check your online tree.

Look over your scrapbook pages before posting them and hide critical information. Here's a sample where I hid a relative's maiden name. Both mother and baby were still living at the time I posted this online.

Paisley Paper Kit from ClubScrap

It's not possible to prevent all identity theft. Just don't make it too easy. Hopefully, the bad guys will move on to someone who lets it all hang out.

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