Happy Birthday to You?
Date Added: Apr. 30, 2002
Privacy pundits have filled our heads with fear about the prospect of someone using the Internet to steal our identities. The threat is real, but this e-mail demonstrates how our fear of it often causes us to see danger where there is none.
SUBJECT: ONLINE PUBLIC RECORDS
I'm writing to you to tell you about a dangerous web site named WWW.ANYBIRTHDAY.COM , a web site that may have your personal information on it including your address and SS#!
Apparently, thieves are taking this info for not so birthday "ish" uses. I did find my name and info, and you can delete the information by following this procedure. SERIOUSLY, THIS IS NOT A JOKE.
Go to WWW.ANYBIRTHDAY.COM
1.) CLICK ON SEARCH.
WAIT 10 - 15 MINUTES, AND GO BACK AND MAKE SURE YOUR NAME IS GONE.
YOU SHOULD SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE YOU KNOW AND CARE ABOUT. ALSO, SAVE THIS E-MAIL AND PERIODICALLY RE-CHECK THAT SITE AND MAKE SURE YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION DOES NOT REAPPEAR.
AnyBirthday.com is not a "dangerous web site." It is intended to be fun resource that will send you e-mail reminders of your friends' and relatives birthday. Their database of more than 135 million birth dates contains only names, zip codes and birth dates for identification purposes. They are affiliated with LocateMe.com who will, for a fee, provide the last known name and address of someone. Neither site provides social security numbers.
From a statement on AnyBirthday.com: "Anybirthday.com never has and never will use or collect or distribute SSN information. Any message suggesting that we will for a fee or otherwise is simply false."
The information provided by these sites comes from public records (i.e., information on file with government agencies such as health departments and motor vehicle bureaus). The instructions for removing your information from AnyBirthday.com are accurate, but you don't really gain anything from doing so, since this does not erase your information from the originating agency.
There are no known cases of criminals using personal information obtained from AnyBirthday.com to perpetrate identity theft. Some versions of this warning say the advisory came from the IRS - this is also false.
Admittedly, the findings on AnyBirthday.com and LocateMe.com could be used as a starting point for an identity thief or stalker, but any criminal willing to put forth the effort and cost to connect this info to data he or she can use would likely be able to find it from a variety of other sources. Break this Chain!