The FBI on Tuesday issued a dire warning to parents about toys and gadgets that connect to the internet.
According to the bureau, many smart toys and entertainment devices for children contain sensors, microphones and cameras to capture images and sound even when the device or toy is not being used.
The FBI states those features could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that is gathered.
In the darkest scenario, the toys capture conversations that can help determine what the child likes, what their room looks like, where they go to school and their facial features.
Put together with information that is used to sign up to use the toy, a hacker could get information to share with a child predator who could locate the boy or girl.
Connected toys operate on the home Wi-Fi system which also controls smart home devices such as security systems and door locks.
By gaining information from the toy's connection to the wireless system, it becomes vulnerable to someone wanting to enter the home.
Information gathered from these connected devices are stored on the companies servers and sometimes shared with third-party companies.
That puts the data on several servers and if one of those is hacked, the information can be stolen and sold to someone on the cyber black market.
One way to protect some of the most important information from being vulnerable is to sign up for each device using a P.O. box rather than with the home's street address.
A P.O. box keeps hackers and others from knowing where you live and protects some of the most crucial information needed by a hacker to steal someone's identity. P.O. boxes are relatively inexpensive.
The smallest box is around $10/month.
You should also use a P.O. when making purchases from online companies you know little about.
Generally speaking, purchasing items from Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy are safe places because of their high level of security, but no online retail space is completely risk-free as we learned last year from the massive data leak from Target.
A P.O. box is an extra layer of security that can keep that crucial information safe.
Click here to read the full press release from the FBI.