Is Creating a Fake Online ID the Best Way to Protect Your True Identity?

Securing your identity online is a must-do. But if you've already updated passwords, use dual authentication on your GMail and have secured your financial information through third party services — is there something even more extreme you can do?

How about lying?

Most online registration forms will ask for information like your name, email address, mailing address and phone number. Have you ever considered coming up with a pseudonym? Or using an old email address? Or making up a phone number?

There are, of course, some cases where lying isn't the best policy.

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If you're dealing with a service that might require a call to customer service, you will want to provide accurate information. For example, my townhome association has an online forum where we can review meeting minutes, sign up for service dates to have our landscaping tended, and other miscellaneous services. While no funds are being transacted, I need to use my real name because I'm the only person who is authorized to request services for my property.

Internet law is pretty clear about another thing you shouldn't lie about: your age. For example, you need to be 18 or older in many states to buy certain items online, so the purchase registration will ask for a date of birth.

For me, it's not a legal question so much as a memory question. Can I remember the fake names, addresses and phone numbers I've made up? It's best to keep track of this information if you're like me. For others, it may also be a moral question, because it's easy to lie online. Online, criminals and thieves take advantage of others with false information. So if it presents a moral quandary, perhaps lying isn't the best policy for you.

(Images: Elizabeth Giorgi)

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Liz is a writer and filmmaker from Minneapolis. She was nominated for a Webby and won an Emmy for Science of Watchmen, a documentary short about the physics in the comic book movie. She’s a tech obsessive, verified nerd and total Anglophile.

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