You love your life and you are proud of your family and those little stickers you want to stick on your car are adorable and you are super proud of it. The problem, however, is that you may inadvertently put yourself and your family in danger by doing this.
If you think about it, those stickers reveal a surprising amount of personal information and this gives criminals the upper hand they need to potentially commit fraud, theft and other crimes.
How big is the risk?
Studies have shown that most stalking victims are preyed on by individuals they know personally, he says Kent Bausman, professor of sociology at Maryville University. “The stereotype of the ‘unknown’ stalker lurking in the shadows, looking for visual signs of vulnerability, is more of an urban legend,” adds Kent.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take all safety precautions you can, to stay out of harm’s way. “Security is not about being paranoid, but about being smart and being aware of the information we share with the world,” he says Ashley Glinkaa former federal law enforcement officer.
What stickers can convey on your car
For example, they can reveal where you and your family spend your time. Letting strangers know that you may be away for long periods of time is a problem, especially if your bumper sticker notes your favorite destination.
“Stickers showing frequent vacation spots could inform thieves that your home is being left unattended during the holiday season.” explains the corporal Tina McGriff of the Montgomery Police Department. “This creates an opportunity for property damage.”
They could endanger your children
Personalized stickers with your kids ‘names could grab the attention of child criminals, as this personal’ tidbit ‘can help them earn your kids’ trust.
“Any information that could create common ground between your child and a stranger creates an opportunity for a criminal act if intent is present,” says corporal. McGriff at Reader’s Digest. This “common ground” of knowing a child’s name can make it easy for criminals to approach the child at an event and make them think they know them and their parents.
Not only can family stickers reveal personal information such as the names of your family members, but some stickers let strangers know where your kids go to school. “Sometimes criminals can use this to their advantage,” the corporal said David Hicks, also from the Montgomery Police Department. “Sometimes we put stickers that tell a little too much about our families”.
The safest alternatives
The safest alternative where to stick the stickers is to put them on the refrigerator instead of on your car.
However, if you really want to put a sticker on your car, it’s a good idea to keep it as generic as possible. Such as, stickers with quotes, movies, songs, animals and other non-controversial figures are probably okay.
But before you stick a sticker you need to know this too: a sticker is one of the things that will kill your car’s resale value.