It’s My Birthday (And I’ll Lie if I Want To!
New Year’s Day 2009 came in with a few added surprises: Automated birthday wishes from a couple of web sites, and even some personal birthday messages from Facebook friends who I already know in real life. But my birthday is in the summer, so their early wishes, thoughtful as they are, landed today as part of my hush-hush plan to control my private information.
In my opinion, some of the key personal information “bits” that aid in the practice of Identity Theft are: Social Security Numbers, Birthdates, and Mother’s Maiden Names. This is because the use of SS numbers has been mutated by firms large and small to serve as the single identifier for their clients. And in how many places have you been asked for Mother’s Maiden Name as an identifier as well?
I’m perfectly okay with the year that I was born (some people refer to this as “their age”), and I’m proud of the several decades of wisdom and experience that piling on the years have wrought, but I decided some years back to “de-identify” myself by using somewhat generic information for these often asked questions and varying them across online sites that request it. I now have several Social Security numbers in use, that easy-to-select New Year’s Day birthday (face it, I don’t have to scamper through those huge pull-down menus to choose Jan 1), and my mothers’ maiden names point to several possible maternal links if anyone was to try to check.
The Better Business Bureau has plenty of good information about Identity Theft: http://www.bbbonline.org/idTheft/protect.asp
So, to Laurie, Bill, Ruben, and Bryan, many thanks for your exceptionally early Happy Birthday wishes! (I’m hoping for remembrances from the rest of my Facebook friends now!)
Enjoy! (And a very Happy Birthday to you, whenever your birthday might be!)
January 1, 2009 @ 6:30 PM