What does someone know about you from your bumper stickers alone?
We all have our favorite bumper stickers. Perhaps you smile when you see a “Baby on Board” notice or laugh when you spot a “Honk If …” joke. Maybe you’re considering the next addition to your bumper because you are a proud parent of an honor roll student or a new dog owner. The charm of bumper stickers is enticing, but are your bumper stickers revealing personal information?
It’s not all fun and games when it comes to bumper stickers. Many police departments encourage drivers to consider what bumper stickers they put on their vehicles because they may reveal personal information.1 Without much thought, you could offer information about your schedule, family and valuables. Learn how bumper stickers say more than just a funny phrase.
Avoid these bumper stickers with personal information about your schedule:
Don’t choose bumper stickers that give away information about your family or life story, like:
Skip the bumper stickers that could tell burglars about your big-ticket purchases:
There are many ways to protect yourself from the sticky situations outlined above. Of course, not loading the back of your car with bumper stickers is a good start, but it’s not the only way criminals can find opportunities for auto theft, identity theft, home burglaries and other serious crimes. Protect yourself as best you can and be prepared for a burglary.
Protect yourself from auto theft and burglary by installing antitheft tools like alarms and GPS tracking systems (if they don’t come standard in your vehicle). In the event of an auto theft, the best way to ensure you’re made whole is to purchase comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage includes protection if a thief makes off with your vehicle or steals expensive parts. It covers damage from bad weather and vandalism, as well.
It’s important to note that comprehensive insurance does not cover the theft of personal items. Add off-premises coverage to your homeowners or renters insurance policy and your insurance company will reimburse you for items stolen from your car.
Even without revealing personal information via bumper stickers, you could still provide thieves with unwanted details about your identity. Avoid putting your name or date of birth on a personalized license plate. Fun license plates can give someone information you use elsewhere for passwords.4
On that note, use different and strong passwords for each website, especially for your bank accounts and other websites that store sensitive information. One of the best ways to stop identity theft is to proactively monitor credit reports, bank statements and credit card accounts for fraudulent charges so you can report them to the proper authorities.5
Here are some easy tips to avoid home burglaries:
We define road rage as aggressive or angry behaviors motorists show while driving, including but not limited to yelling, tailgating, weaving and speeding. Avoid tickets and road rage incidents by remaining calm and practicing defensive driving techniques.
Bumper stickers related to politics can agitate other drivers and lead to unsafe or retaliatory driving practices. Play it safe by removing political affiliations and other cause-driven bumper stickers from the back of your vehicle.
Again, it is unlikely that a bumper sticker in and of itself will cause a violent or otherwise traumatizing crime. However, we recommend avoiding bumper stickers that reveal the whereabouts of your children. Family members or acquaintances are most likely to abduct kids and teens.6 Here are some ways to prevent abductions:
While bumper stickers are not the easiest way for criminals to discover your personal information, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Bumper stickers can be too revealing. Plus, they may negatively affect the resale value of your vehicle.7 If you want peace of mind while you drive, invest in home and auto insurance coverages for theft and vandalism.
Police: Your Bumper Stickers May Reveal Too Much About You. PHIL17 Morning News Desk. (2019, Oct 23).
Police Issue Warning as They Reveal How Thieves Use Bumper Stickers as a Crime Blueprint. Newsweek. (2022, Feb 14).
Age Patterns of Victims of Serious Violent Crime. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, U.S. Department of Justice. (1997, Jul).
Bumper Stickers Could Open the Door for Identity Theft. Integral Networks. (2022, Nov 6).
Help Prevent Identity Theft. Ken Paxton. (2023).
Preventing Abductions. Nemours Kids Health. (2023).
10 Things That Will Kill Your Car’s Resale Value. Reader’s Digest. (2023, Jan 20).