The seemingly innocent car features making you a target of criminals

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Drivers could be unwittingly putting a target on their backs by displaying seemingly innocent features on their cars.

Bumper stickers and personalised number plates may seem like harmless expressions of a driver's personality and lifestyle, but could actually help criminals looking to cash in, the Converse Police Department, based in the US state of Texas, said.

A large amount of personal information can be gathered from such items, particularly as they're often displaying loyalty to a driver's hometown, their hobbies, job or interests, according to the department's post, which was published in November but recently resurfaced online.

Traffic on a busy highway somewhere in Australia.
Drivers have been warned about having personalised plates and bumper stickers. Source: Getty Images

The department shared an insightful graphic on Facebook identifying how easy details about a person's life can be collected just from a few stickers or a number plate.

One highlighted was the popular "baby on board" sticker which, according to the police department, could indicate to criminals that you're "likely distracted and could be an easy target".

Another was a personalised number plate with the driver's name and their home state on it, which meant it was "easier to recall should someone want to keep track" of the car.

A sticker with high school branding and a message boasting about an "honour roll student" could tell a criminal where the child of the driver is every day during school hours, police say.

An individual's place of residence could also be exposed if drivers had a sticker of their hometown.

Animal lovers proud to show off their pets in sticker form might also be hand feeding opportunistic culprits information.

Graphic of car with stickers and personalised plates.
This graphic suggested how much personal information was available to criminals via stickers and personalised plates. Source: Facebook/Converse Police Department

Similarly, a sticker depicting a dirt bike rider could indicate to thieves a driver has "expensive toys" in their garage, according to police.

Other examples police used included bumper stickers of a ballerina and a baseball, which could tell people "we'll be gone most evenings for practice".

Another sticker showing a mining crane next to the words "oilfield spouse" could indicate "my spouse is away often".

More than 800 people responded to the graphic expressing they would in future put fewer stickers on their car to avoid becoming a target to criminals.

"I鈥檝e always thought the same thing when I see these stickers, like what are people thinking?" one person wrote.

"Especially the stickers with each family member with the names underneath," another said.

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