How to Best Avoid "Identity Theft"
and Rules to Keep Safe on the Internet

some food for thought and some suggested places for further information

Identiy Theft
see this article for more details

Note from the above graphic that the top source of "Identity Theft"  is NOT Internet related issues
but, rather - stolen / lost  personal items.  (wallet / purse / items in car / items in your home)

All so often I  wonder about those who seem to be
as the Bible says
"Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel"
As an example - someone paranoid of sharing their name or email address or posting a photo on the Internet
BUT not even thinking twice about using their credit card to pay in a restaurant
or leaving their purse in their car or even in plain view in their home.
when such latter actions - have a hugely greater risk then those mentioned related to the Internet.

This should not be inferred to mean that certain actions on the Internet cant be risky.
There certainly are risks associated with technology and the Internet - most especially with emails or social media schemes known as "phishing".
We really need to analyze and review our personal behavior no matter whether its on the Internet or off the Internet and how people
could take advantage of our social behavior..

Below are some helpful Internet sites or videos
to help educate us on Identity Theft as well as  Internet Safety.

Identity Theft


How to be safe on Social Networks

Identity Theft and your kids

Social Media and your employment

College Admissions and Social Media

Internet Safety and your Kids

So how does all this relate to Genealogy and the Intenet??

There are not always clear black and white rules.
Some genealogy related questions that come to my mind include:

The answers to the above - are not black and white
You will find various differing opinions among your friends and family.
and everyone will have different ideas and experiences.
and thank God we live in America - where everyone has a right to their own opinion and decisions.

BUT frankly my feeling is the dangers of the above are highly over exaggerated as compared to the main sources of  identity theft and security.

I, myself, have posted numerous photos on line of my family, posted my email on thousands of sites on line of the many years, 
My family tree with my parents and ancestors is there in plain view.  And I have posted various obituaries of close family.
Truth is, I have rarely ever regretted these things.  I have felt that the PROS outweighed the CONS.

BUT - could something bad or tragic  happen to me because of these things.
Surely it could!!   It could happen tomorrow.  And then maybe I would have a different perspective n things.

BUT we live in a real world - where bad things can and do happen - based on people taking advantage of us - and our circumstances and information.

Each one of us will have to make our OWN decisions as to what is is ok and what is not.
There is no single right or wrong.
There will always be people that take various risks and never get "burned"
and conversely people that were very paranoid and took precautions  - but still ended up getting  totally burned - as to identiy theft or digital or physical security. There are no guarantees.

It is a balancing act - and especially in the world of genealogy - there are "gives and takes" as we
figure out what rules we will use to operate in our "On Line World" - doing so safely - but also doing so effectively in our pursuit of  genealogical projects.

May I simply suggest we ask ourselves a question:
Are we "Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel"
or in more modern lingo
Are we paranoid about our online security
while "leaving the front door to our house totally unlocked" for the world to enter.
(metaphoricaly speaking or maybe not)

EDUCATION goes a long way.
Please consider reviewing some of the links above on this page.
I believe education is the greatest factor in keeping ourselves safe.