Social Networking and Identity Theft

Guess what? Social networking sites increase your risk of identity theft, or so says Neil Munroe of Equifax. According to Munroe:

“The problem is that people don’t realize the significance of the kind of information they are putting out on the Web and who may be accessing it. More and more consumers are signing up to these sites every day and chances are they’ll put on their date of birth, location, e-mail, job and marital status.”

He went on to say that:

“Nearly all of us can search for a name of an old friend and find all their personal details online without them even knowing. Unfortunately, the fact is that not everybody is searching for a friend.”

Equifax is thus advising consumers to limit the amount of information they make available online, especially when it comes to things commonly used for identity verification, such as birth date, mother’s maiden name (who would ever put this online?), names of kids and pets, etc. They are also advising people to make their profiles private, such that only close friends can view the information.

I guess anonymity has it’s privileges, doesn’t it?

[Source: Reuters UK]

5 Responses to “Social Networking and Identity Theft”

  1. Anonymous

    The raids on social network profiles, in data mining operations, is indeed alarming.

    Why so many people put up so much personal data is puzzling. This is live bait for the con man.

    I’ve been writing about scams for years, and find that this is about the easiest route to identity theft I’ve ever seen.

  2. Anonymous

    And never give out your birthday, especially in conjunction with other info. I have a made-up birthday that makes me approximately the same age. It’s always consistent so I never have to think about it…

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