Saturday, February 14, 2009

Danger, Will Robinson...

I noticed something going around on Facebook - a questionnaire (I hate to call it a meme, because meme actually means something different that's quite important) that asks you to make up a bunch of names for yourself. It seems like great fun on the surface, but the instructions it gives for making up names actually looks like a con.

Here are the questions:
  • YOUR SPY NAME (middle name and current street name)
  • YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME (grandfather/mother on your dad's side and your favorite candy):
  • YOUR RAP NAME (first initial of first name and first 3,4 or 5 letters of your last name):
  • YOUR GAMER TAG (a favorite color, a favorite animal)
  • YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME (middle name, and city you were born in:
  • YOUR STAR WARS NAME (first three letters of your last name, last three letters of mother's maiden name, first three letters of your pet's name)
  • JEDI NAME (middle name spelled backwards, your mom's maiden name spelled backwards)
  • PORN STAR NAME (first pet's name, the street you grew up on):
  • SUPERHERO NAME: ("The", your favorite color and the automobile your dad drives)
  • YOUR ACTION HERO NAME (first name of the main character in the last film you watched, last food you ate)
So if you answer these questions, anybody who has access to your answers has the following information about you that banks commonly use to verify your identity:
  • Your full name, including your full middle name.
  • Your paternal grandfather or grandmother's name
  • The town where you were born
  • Your pet's name
  • Your mother's maiden name
  • The name of the street you grew up on
  • Your favorite color
I'm not sure that my point here is that you shouldn't post answers to this poll on your facebook page. The fact is that these are actually all lousy authenticators. You shouldn't have given this information to your bank, and therefore they shouldn't have it to authenticate you. But maybe you did. It's something to think about.

In other news, I did a three-ish mile ride with the handlebars lowered. It seemed like an improvement, but now the shelf of the seat is starting to dig into my thighs a little more, and it feels like the seat is too low. I'm starting to think that these seats are better suited to someone who thinks that a 20-mile ride is a big deal, and takes more than two hours to complete one.


Anonymous Patricia said...

There was a news report just yesterday of an Oklaoma woman whose identity was stolen on FaceBook and used feloniously. I don't know whether the thief used this method or not.

Saturday, February 14, 2009 5:21:00 PM  
Blogger Ted Lemon said...

Facebook is no safer than any other part of the Internet. I think the key thing with facebook is to follow the security procedures that Ellen linked to a couple of days ago (let me know if you can't find them).

I think that a lot of scam artists prey on the older folks, so if your picture makes you look like you're in that category you might not want to show it to strangers (there's an option that controls this). This is a bit of a problem because people use your picture to figure out if you're really the Patricia Lemon they remember.

One option is to use a picture from when you were younger, say in your forties. It shouldn't be dated, though - if they can tell it's an old picture, that doesn't do you much good, so if you have a wacky eighties hairstyle it's not going to work.

Anyway, definitely be careful out there... :')

Saturday, February 14, 2009 9:30:00 PM  
Blogger Jym said...

=v= I heard the "porn star name" thing before (I'd be Smokey Joe Forest), but I had a same thought about the other questions. I think people let down their guard on social network site because they're "among friends."

Sunday, February 15, 2009 4:32:00 AM  

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