BUFFALO, N.Y. — As a former CIA Officer and FBI Special Agent, Tracy Walder has seen what can happen when ill-intentioned people gain access to your personal information.
“So if you make that information more difficult to find, you’re less likely to be a target,” she told 2 On Your Side.
With school starting again, the Texas-based mom and professor has been sharing some simple, but thought-provoking safety information on Tik Tok and Instagram.
“I don’t know that anyone’s right or wrong necessarily, I can just share what I do and if you like it, great,” she said.
One thing Walder says she wouldn’t do? Put kids names on the outside of backpacks.
“Particularly, if they’re little and don’t quite understand stranger danger yet, someone could just go up to them and say hey Suzy, your mom told me to take you home today,” she said. “I don’t really think we need to give people access to free information.”
Silver Creek School District’s longtime School Resource Officer agrees.
“We want people to limit not only limit what information they’re putting out there, but also to limit who has access to that information,” Officer Wes Johnson said.
Johnson demonstrated this, with his own version of the popular sign you see kids holding in back to school pictures. He says if you’re going to post those photos anywhere, it’s best to leave off details like last names, ages, grades, and teacher names.
“You may have people that live in your neighborhood that you don’t know and if you’re posting this publicly, now they know your kid’s first name,” he said.
Officer Johnson says parents should know who is following them on social media, as well as their kids, if they’re old enough for their own accounts.
“First of all, make your pictures pull them down to it’s just family and friends. Not shareable,” he said. “There are people out there that will take these pictures of kids and they will share them with their other friends that like looking at pictures of little kids. I know it’s a horrible thought, but those people are out there.”
Tracy Walder, the former FBI Agent & CIA Officer, says having a private account can add a layer of protection.
“I have two Instagram accounts,” she said. “One is private for people that I’ve met in person, and then one is public. I do not post pictures of my child on public. It’s all about just making it a little bit more difficult for people to get access to that information.”
You can follow Tracy for more safety information on Tik Tok and Instagram @theunexpectedspy.
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