Action Fraud are warning that fraudsters need just three pieces of personal information to steal your identity, most of which can be found on your Facebook profile.
All it takes is your name, date of birth and address for fraudsters to steal your identity and access your bank accounts, take out loans or take out mobile phones in your name.
Recent YouGov research from Equifax has revealed that a high proportion of social media users risk identity theft by giving fraudsters easy access to this type of personal information.
The survey found that almost 30% of adults with a social media account include their full name and date of birth on their profile pages.
Finding out your age and where you live
Even if you don’t publically show your age on your Facebook profile, fraudsters can still work out your age from people wishing you well on your timeline. Once they have your date of birth, they can find out where you live too.
You should review your privacy settings and ensure you are not revealing too much. If you need some guidance, this complete guide will help you keep control of your Facebook account.
John Marsden, head of ID and fraud at Equifax, said: “People must act now to protect their finances for the long term. More adults in the UK are engaging with social media than ever before, especially on their smartphones, and a high number are readily sharing their personal information on these platforms.”
“Fraudsters get hold of this type of information so they can impersonate an individual, either by setting up accounts in their name or accessing existing accounts and stealing from them. The extent of damage can run to thousands of pounds worth of debt being racked up in your name. My advice to consumers is to be social savvy; avoid unnecessarily sharing personal details and risking your identity on platforms that can so easily be exploited.”
If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should act quickly and not ignore the problem, see the following link for Action Frauds Advice here.
- Always change default privacy settings on social media to edit who can see your information
- Be aware of information posted about yourself as well! This could also include personal information
- If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers
- Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
For more information about our work, please visit www.safeinwarwickshire.com/cybercrime
Cyber Aware is a cross-government campaign, funded by the National Cyber Security Programme. They aim to measurably and significantly improve the online safety behaviour and confidence of consumers and small businesses (SMEs).
Get Safe Online is the UK’s leading source of factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety. Their website offers advice on how you can protect yourself, your computers and devices, and your business against the likes of fraud, identity theft, viruses and other potential online problems.