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I've recently published several papers in different peer-reviewed and reasonably high quality journals. Since I have no academic affiliation (I do research as a ''hobby''), I was asked to provide a postal address along with my submissions for the sake of completeness and reachability. I have provided my personal (private) home address, since I have no other.

Now I have about 5 different publications that are freely available on the internet, with my full name and private address on them.

How bad is this? Am I under the threat of identity theft? Or is this OK/normal practice for non-academic authors?


NOTE: I was obliged to provide a complete address in all cases, as a pre-requisite for publication. The journals I submitted to are all well known in the field (and not predatory or scam journals).

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    Not an answer (and not sure if it would be on-topic here), but a suggestion for the future: You could rent a P.O. box or provide the generic address of your former university (plus your e-mail address). Nobody contacts you via snail-mail anyway. Aug 30, 2021 at 7:33
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    The bad guys already know your address, phone number, credit score, how much is left on your mortgage, what you were in the hospital for last time. These publications won't make the slightest difference.
    – B. Goddard
    Aug 30, 2021 at 22:54

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It is unlikely that your name and address will be used for identity theft, unless you are being targeted personally. While useful, addresses are relatively low-value for stealing identities because they are both easy to get and have limited use on their own. Also, it will not be clear to an attacker that this is, in fact, your personal address.

Of course, there is some risk if your research is (or could become) politically sensitive.

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  • That's a great answer. Thanks for that, it puts my mind at ease.
    – Klangen
    Aug 30, 2021 at 7:54
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    @Klangen: Regarding "It is unlikely that your name and address will be used for identity theft", I hope not! I just googled my name (as given in stack exchange groups, which is also the exact same format that I've used in pretty much all things since the 1970s unless a full middle name was needed) along with the city I live in, and it appears there are about 60 web pages listing my home address. Several pictures also, but FYI none of the pictures are of me. On the off-chance my saying this could lead to problems for me in the future, I'll delete this comment in a few hours. Aug 30, 2021 at 14:35
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    Agree with @DaveLRenfro: in most cases, one can find someone's home address by googling them. This is not "protected information." Aug 30, 2021 at 15:32
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    Can you also not just look in the telephone book (ok people do not have landlines anymore)
    – lalala
    Aug 30, 2021 at 16:29
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    If someone owns their home, and you already know what county they live in, you can look them up in the county tax records, which are usually available online. (As stated this only applies to the US.) Aug 30, 2021 at 19:48

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