What the Tech? Should You Lie about Your Age to Protect Your Safety on the Internet?
Our parents told us it’s best to always tell the truth. I’ve been preaching that to my kids since they were old enough to understand.
Still, more and more kids are lying about their age online in order to create accounts for Snapchat, TikTok, and apps that require users to be at least 13 years old.
Lying about their age is pretty common and it should be a lie every parent tells when they sign up for new accounts. Here’s why: hackers and online con artists are more successful in stealing the identity of people who always tell the truth.
When apps and new accounts ask for your birth date it’s best to always lie. Unless it’s a bank, credit card, or the government, there’s no reason to give any app your actual birthdate.
Especially free apps that require a birth date in the account set up. And it’s one of the critical items hackers need to steal your identity.
Here’s how it can happen:
Apps and websites frequently get hacked and all of the user information in their database is stolen. That data often includes names, email addresses, and birthdates. It happens all the time.
The thief puts the database up for sale on the dark web and other bad guys buy it in bulk. Say they get your basic information in a security breach. They’ll search for those users on social media to gather more information to build profiles of their victims.
That information can include your family members. If your mother is on Facebook, she likely includes her maiden name. That’s a huge get for bad guys as “Mother’s Maiden Name” is often required to access accounts and change passwords.
If the bad guy can’t get your birthdate, the other information isn’t going to be worth as much, and they’ll move on to target someone else.
So when you sign up for a new account that doesn’t need your birthdate, make yourself 5 or 10 years younger. Use the first or last day of the month you were born in. It won’t prevent identity theft on its own, but it will make it hard for the bad guys.