Are your car bumper stickers giving away too much information? Local authorities weigh in

What Your Car Tells Criminals

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Bumper stickers on cars have long been a popular way to personalize your ride and express yourself, but could they be putting you and your family at risk?

The North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety wants to warn people to think twice about what you share on your car windows because some bumper stickers can reveal more about your life than you may realize.

Lance Cpl. Amy Vicks with North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety says some stickers can lead criminals on a chase.

According to Vicks, criminals can use your stickers to tell everything from where your child goes to school, to where you live and even when you won’t be home. For example, say you’re a proud parent who just wants to tell the world your daughter is a soccer star. With that, you’re also telling the bad guys your child’s gender and where they go to school.

Even military bumper stickers can let crooks know someone might be serving overseas in your household. If you have a pro-gun sticker on your car, it might show criminals you have guns in your car or home, making you a target. Vicks says it’s something everyone should keep in mind, especially younger teens who may want to personalize their first car.

"Young teenage girls or teenagers, they want a personalized plate because it’s cool. They want something that’s kind of cool, so if they put like their name on there or their initials on there, somebody that might be interested in them or interested in following them around, they can say ‘Hey Amy, guess what? I know you from someplace.' They’ll play into it and it starts to get personal information out there,” said Vicks.

Officials say it might be safer to keep it at home and stick it on your fridge instead. Vicks calls it a game of common sense, staying one step ahead of the criminal and limiting what they can use to hurt you.

Vicks says this doesn't mean you have to get rid of your bumper stickers all together, but just be cautious of the ones you select and just how much information you're giving away about your personal life. She also says if you do choose a bumper sticker for your car, try to keep it as generic as possible.

With the holiday season approaching, the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety wants everyone to keep these things in mind when it comes to putting your personal information out there.

The department also offers residents free home security surveys to make your home is safer so criminals don’t have the upper hand.

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