Friday, January 23, 2009

Genealogy Dangers

Knowledge is power and some knowledge can give bad guys power over you and your family.

My family recently joined the ranks of citizens victimized by identity theft. To help stop the damage we immediately went to our bank and reset much of our information. In one section of our work we were asked to select a series of security questions and many of these questions tied into family connections. A few examples of which were:
* What is your mother's maiden name?
* Where was your favorite uncle born?
* In what hospital were you born?
* Where did you go to school?
Do not use these types of questions. It is too easy for this information to be found on a genealogy web site.

When posting genealogy details, it is critical for us to act as a front line in making sure that details can not be tied back to living people.

NEVER post a birth-date on a living person. If you know of a genealogy fan that likes to post dates on living people, keep track of their work and warn your cousins. (I have personally had to deal with Mr Blazek posting the dates of birth for dozens of cousins on two of his web sites).

NEVER publish/share a social security number of a person when their spouse is still alive. Just because it is published in the SSDI does not mean that we should help tie it into a family tree. Some estates take years to settle and close, so it is always best to wait on publishing when a person has recently died.

Cherish and share our common history with all interested cousins, but remember to protect your cousins from the bad guys. :)

1 comment:

Jacqueline said...

I, too, have experienced ID Theft -from several sources. The worst was my Credit Union. I had a high o'draft protection in place, the bank paid whatever came in while setting aside a "new loan" and charging my savings acct. a service fee each time a request for payment came in, thus draining my savings account, too. I do not know who nor how my ID was stolen but I ended up owing the CU many thousands of dollars! Beware, the CU told me it "was not financially feasible" for them to notify me of the charges. Guess what? I can't pay! BEWARE! Jacqueline Clepper