TAMPA, Fla. - You may want to think twice the next time you post about your child on social media.
What you think might be a harmless post on your child's birthday or first day of school could give a criminal what they need to steal their identity.
“I think my nephew had given a little bit of a speech and so there was just a picture talking about him doing well in school,” said social media user Katelyn Erickson.
But that information can easily land in the wrong hands. As part of cybersecurity awareness month, Largo police warned about “sharenting” - parents who overshare about their children on social media, giving tidbits criminals may be able to use.
“Especially with identity theft being as big of an issue as it is right now especially if you can gain access to a clean credit history, that is something that parents would want to be concerned with although it is still relatively rare at the moment,” said Nathan Fisk, the Cyber Florida community and outreach liaison and assistant professor of cybersecurity education at the University of South Florida.
Fisk said the information is not always obvious.
“If you happen to discuss a child who is winning in a game somewhere, then they know the school that that child is at,” said Fisk. “They probably know the full name of that child. They probably know the sports that that child is engaged in.”
Parents said they try to be mindful.
“As things go on, you always try to improve what you're doing and limit,” said social media user Donald Keys. “The more and more you realize it can be used against you, you kind of better protect yourself, I think.”
Beyond fraud, there are privacy issues too. Cyber Florida suggests turning off the location tracker in apps.
“All it takes is a few pieces of information just in the background of a single photo to try to find out the location of an individual where that photograph was,” Fisk said.
Little things like that are making social media users second guess before clicking post.
“I’ll definitely think twice about it if I ever have a kid and feel the need to share,” said Erickson.
You should not share full names, addresses, phone numbers, and other personal information. British investment bank Barclays said parents oversharing will account for two-thirds of identity fraud by 2030.