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Wish list can expose personal info

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Do you have an online wish list? Or a wedding or baby registry? Experts say they’re fast, high tech and make shopping a breeze. But, you may want to log on and check your list. Experts say it could be revealing too much info about you.

A robotic vacuum and soda maker were easy presents for Mike Pryor to buy for his wife. He just shopped her online gift list.

"These wish lists are very convenient," he said.

President of the Identity Theft Resource Center Eva Velasquez tells us the lists are a very valuable gift-giving tool, but she warns that you may not realize, "The default setting on many are 'public.'"

That means anyone could search and find your name.

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

We asked Pryor to check the privacy settings on his family’s wish lists, turns out some were "public." He said, "The information being shared with the wish lists and being public is quite eye-opening."

Just by browsing random wish lists we found people revealing their occupations, ages, schools, their children, their cities and states.

Velasquez said the info 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.

She has also 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.

Her advice? Make your lists private and share them only with people you want to see them.

That’s what Pryor did.

"I am a very private person," he said. "Having somebody find more information out about me that I prefer not to share, that is very disconcerting."

Copyright 2017 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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