Prepared- Special OPSEC Edition… Do the stickers on your cars put you at risk?

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Since this is the first OPSEC lesson in the Prepared newsletter series, I want to do just a basic lesson on OPSEC and what it is before we get into the specific lesson.

OPSEC is nothing more than an acronym for Operational Security. It’s a primary principle we lived by in the military that has made it’s way into civilian use over the years.

An official definition of Operational Security would be protecting information that an enemy could use to hurt you.

The Prepared Dad definition is protecting yourself and your family in all situations, not just information, that could harm you.

To me, Operational Security doesn’t just mean terrorists and bad guys. I don’t want you to think about it just that way either.

The Prepared Dad is prepared at a basic level at least for everything, and OPSEC should work across the board as something to live by. Let’s call it having an OPSEC Mindset.

Let me give you a few examples so you get the idea and can apply it to other situations in your life.

  • Bad Guys: Posting on social media about your vacation WHILE you’re on vacation alerts people you’re not home.
  • Your Kids: A simple walk around your vehicle before taking off out of the driveway lets you make sure no kids are playing games or hiding near the car.
  • DIY Projects: Wearing protective eyewear keeps you safe while working with saws, hammers, weedeaters, etc.

And my last example is today’s lesson about the stickers you place on your vehicles.

I could go on and on with what they reveal, but I’ll just use an image from a police department in WA to make my point.

For too many of you, your vehicle is an open book for information gathering about your family and home.

Real Life Case Study: Potential for a Kidnapped Child

Thankfully child kidnapping is not as prevalent as the media would have you believe, but it is a worst case scenario event if it does happen.
Therefore, a Prepared Dad should take all appropriate measures to prevent it.

I watched a live Facebook video recently that was filmed while the speaker sat in line to pick up his child at school.

Because of the point-of-view of the phone’s camera, I could clearly see a sign issued by the school to facilitate his kid getting picked up and moving the line along faster.

On the sign was his daughter’s name and the school name and logo.

Not only was this Facebook Live video broadcast to the public, but I also realized that the sign was likely left on the visor all the time so he didn’t waste time retrieving it from the glove box each day.

My spidey-sense was on full alert watching this video. Part of my work doing counter-terrorism for Homeland Security was in creating potential scenarios and then figuring out how to defeat them. This is where my mind immediately went.

Based on this information, how easily would it be to kidnap this man’s child?

I won’t go into detail in case the wrong person reads this, but anyone with any level of training or intent could form a quick plan based on viewing that one Facebook Live video.


Replace your revealing stickers with something fun!

A lot of us, me included, like to have fun and show some sense of individuality and fun with the stickers on our cars.

I just don’t want you to have stickers that reveal everything about you and your family.

Here are a couple of fun ideas that are fun, don’t give a bad guy too much info, and maybe even put him on alert that you’re the wrong people to mess with.

T-rex Ate Your Family

Dogs On Board May Bite– I like this one, even if you don’t have a dog. It warns that there may be a dangerous dog in the car and/or at home.

Caution K-9 Stay Back– This one warns of a pontentially dangerous dog and also gives off vibes that you might be a police officer without saying so.

Quiet Neighbor Big Freezer– This is a bit of a warning that the person driving just might be a danger to the bad guys instead of the other way around.

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