What the Tech? Should You Lie on the Internet?
Teenagers have been lying about their age for generations. Younger kids are lying about their birth date now more than ever as they lie to get an account on TikTok, Snapchat, or any of the other social media accounts that require users to be 13 years old or older.
Adults should be lying about their age online as well but for a different reason.
Many apps and websites ask for or even require a date of birth to set up a new account. In reality, most do not need your birthday except to perhaps prove you’re old enough to use their services. For many apps, there is absolutely no valid reason they should know and save your date of birth.
Data breaches happen all the time and many of those thefts include name, email address, and date of birth. When someone hacks into a database and retrieves all of that information they’ll put it up for sale on the dark web. Other hackers can purchase that information and can begin gathering other information online to build your identity or profile.
Let’s say they get your basic information including your date of birth. They can search for you on social media and find your public profile on Facebook. Just think about all of that information falling into the wrong hands. They can not only have your name, email address, phone number, date of birth, and possibly your mailing address but if you have your mother listed as a family member, they can use that information as well to re-set accounts or sign up for new ones.
Remember many password recovery questions ask for your mother’s maiden name. Lots of women use their maiden names in their Facebook profiles.
Armed with all of that information, the hacker can gather all they need to steal an identity or begin re-setting passwords and account log-in credentials.
So when an app or website asks for your date of birth with no valid reason other than to prove your old enough to sign up for an account, go ahead and lie about your age. Select a birth date that’s a few months or days off from your actual date of birth.
Change the year too. If you feel you may need to remember than information at a later time, pick another important date you can remember. Maybe select the date of your anniversary but with a different year. Maybe choose the 4th of July and a year that’s 10 years off of your actual date of birth.
This may not guarantee that your information will never be stolen but at the very least it will makes life a little more difficult for a hacker who would then choose to move on to someone else.