Consumer alert: Wish list privacy check

Updated: Feb. 6, 2017 at 6:16 PM EST
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(NPN) - Do you have an online wish list:or baby registry? Experts say they're fast, high-tech and make shopping a breeze.But experts also say it could be revealing too much information 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.

They're a very valuable gift-giving tool, says president of the Identity Theft Resource Center, Eva Velasquez. But what you may not realize is the default setting on many are "public."

That means anyone could search and find your name and lists.

"People simply don't know. They don't realize how much information they're sharing," Velasquez said.

When Pryor checked the privacy settings on his family's wish lists, it turns out some were public.

"The information being shared with the wish lists and being public is quite eye-opening," he said.

Just by browsing random wish lists, you can see people revealing their occupations, ages, schools, their children and 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 someone has, the better picture they have and the easier it would be to pretend to be you and commit identity theft," she said.

The Identity Theft Resource Center 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 publicly available," Velasquez said. "You're giving them information, and maybe you don't want them to have that information."

Experts advice? Make your lists private and share them only with people you want to see them. That's what Pryor did.

"I am a very private person. Having somebody find more information out about me that I prefer not to share - that is very disconcerting," he said.

For more information on preventing identity theft, go to the Identity Theft Resource Center at

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