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Thursday 11th of October 2007
July 23, 2007

Social networkers fall prey to identity thieves

by Gill Montia

Story link: Social networkers fall prey to identity thieves

Equifax, the credit data company, has raised concerns about opportunities being created for identity thieves by those using social networking sites.

Sites such as MySpace, Bebo, Facebook and Friends Reunited are growing in popularity and those joining create profiles to share with other members.

Neil Munroe, external affairs director of Equifax, has warned that fraudsters are making use of the wealth of personal details displayed on these sites.

Joiners are often unaware of the significance of the kind of information they put on Web and of the ways in which it can be used.

It is common for site members to reveal their date of birth, location, e-mail address, job and marital status. Also divulged are the names of pets and children, which are used by many as passwords.

This kind of information can be used to steal a person’s identity and to open financial accounts in the vicitim’s name.

Equifax is urging social website users to limit the amount of information they put online, particularly the common verification data, such as full date of birth or mother’s maiden name.

It is also advising people to employ privacy options on their profiles, so only close friends can view the information.

Not only should identity thieves be borne in mind, but also potential partners and employers, as social networking sites are being used by such to check out new contacts.

Over than 16 million people are currently registered with Friends Reunited and an estimated 28 million are members of Facebook.

 

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