CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Small stickers could lead to big problems; that's the message police officers are trying to send about the family stick-figure decals people place in the rear-window of their vehicles.
Police said predators and identity thieves can use that information to target people.
Dawn Fleming of Chippewa Falls has her family displayed as stickers on her rear car window.
“I think they're proud of their family, it's another way to express yourself,” Fleming said.
But these seemingly harmless decals can be a target for criminals.
“Be aware that it may relay info to people that are looking to have some type of advantage or access to your personal accounts or information, so anything that you put out there, people can get and use for not so good of means,” Investigator Rob Teuteberg with the Chippewa Falls Police Department said.
He said even a small piece of personal information can be used to commit crimes.
“There's a lot of information out there now, whether it be on paper, hard information, or digital information that's accessible so we always encourage everyone to be as safe as they can and safeguard their personal information,” Teuteberg said.
Customized family stickers have hundreds of options to display, from a tennis-playing chef, to a motorcycling scuba diver. An Ohio based search and rescue website explains how the stickers could tell others if their dog is a threat, what activities their kids might do after school and where parents could be. The company Family Stickers suggests not including names to stay safe.
“Any advantage the wrong people will get, they will use and we don't want to see the wrong person targeted and be a victim of a crime,” Teuteberg said.
“I don't think it's a worry of mine,” Fleming said. “You can express yourself and you shouldn't be afraid to express yourself.”
“We just ask that everyone be safe with their information,” Teuteberg said.
He said it is technically illegal to have stickers on windows because it obstructs the driver's view, but it's rare that anyone would be ticketed for it, unless it's obnoxiously large.