Here's why you should make your online wish lists private

Updated: Mar. 17, 2017 at 9:12 PM EDT
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DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Do you have a wedding or baby registry? Maybe an online wish list? Experts say they're fast, high tech, and make shopping a breeze -- but you may want to log on and check your list.

The president of the Identity Theft Resource Center says those lists are valuable gift giving tools, but what consumers may not realize is the default setting on many are public. That means anyone could search and find someone's name and lists.

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

By browsing random wish lists, people can find occupations, ages, schools, children, cities, and states. Velasquez said the information 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 said.

The center has 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. You're giving them a lot of information, and maybe you don't want them to have that information," Velasquez said.

Expert advice? Make the lists private and only share them with friends and family.

More information on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft.

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