Why you may want to check your online wish list or gift registry

Posted at 6:34 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 18:34:32-05

Do you have an online wish list? Or a wedding or baby registry? Experts say they’re fast, high tech and make shopping a breeze. But, you may want to log-on and check your list. Experts say it could be revealing too much info about you.

A robotic vacuum and soda maker were easy presents for Mike Pryor to buy for his wife. He just shopped her online gift list. “These wish lists are very convenient,” he said.

President of the Identity Theft Resource Center Eva Velasquez tells us the lists are a very valuable gift giving tool, but she warns that you may not realize, “The default setting on many are ‘public.’”  

That means anyone could search and find your name. “People simply don't know; they don't realize how much information they're sharing,” Velasquez said.

We asked Mike to check the privacy settings on his family’s wish lists, turns out some were “public.”  He said, “The information being shared with the wish lists and being public is quite eye- opening.”

Just by browsing random wish lists we found people revealing their occupations, ages, schools, their children, their cities and states.

Velasquez says the info can be puzzle pieces for identity thieves, “Think of your identity like a puzzle and the more pieces of the puzzle someone has the better the picture they have, and the easier it would be to pretend to be you and commit identity theft.”

She has also seen people who have had other “unwanted visitors” to their lists, “Perhaps you have a jealous ex-boyfriend or girlfriend and they're looking at your wedding registry that you have publically available; you’re giving them a lot of information, and maybe you don’t want them to have that information,” said Velasquez.

Her advice?  Make your lists private and share them only with people you want to see them.

That’s what Mike did. He says, “I am a very private person; having somebody find more information out about me that I prefer not to share, that is very disconcerting.”

For more information about preventing identity theft, go to the Identity Theft Resource Center: