When you work with a lawyer (or a financial advisor or accountant, for that matter), you almost certainly hand over a lot of confidential information. It may include things like account numbers, birth dates, your social security number, family members’ names — in short, everything necessary to steal your identity.
This could be a problem.
The Minnesota Government Data Practices Act determines what state agencies must do with the enormous mountains of data they collect. Most data is public (PDF overview), unless a statute or rule makes certain data private.
Many agencies provide email-based notifications, like snow emergency alerts or city council meetings, It turns out there is no statute or rule making those email addresses private, even though most of the websites where those email addresses are collected claim they will be kept confidential.
Twitter account @NeedADebitCard collects pictures of debit and credit cards that people post to Twitter. Seriously? I’m guessing these people aren’t on top of their Facebook privacy settings, either, which makes them sitting ducks for identity thieves.
People, don’t be stupid. If you have to take pictures of your debit and credit cards, put them in the same place you keep your sex tapes.
Take a moment to look over your Facebook profile, and consider all the information your friends have access to. Your name, address, and date of birth? How many of the answers to your “security” questions for your financial websites are contained within your profile or updates?
Only friend people you know. Nearly half of Facebook users will apparently accept any friend request! Or learn to use Facebook’s privacy settings to keep people you don’t know from discovering personal information about you.