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Social media sites are being used as a ‘hunting ground’ for hackers as identify theft increases by 83 per cent in Manchester , according to latest figures..
The shocking numbers show the huge increase among 21-30 year olds – which has seen a bigger rise in the thefts than even London.
The conmen take personal information from social media and hack into private systems to get details such as a person’s name, date of birth, address and name of their bank, and then can apply for a loan or buy a product in their name, leaving the innocent party to foot the bill.
Bosses at Cifas, a service that gathers information from hundreds of financial firms, fear that a lack of awareness about the crime is making it easier for conmen, who use social media as their ‘hunting ground’, to steal cash.
Cifas chief executive Simon Dukes said: “Fraudsters are opportunists. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.
“Society, government and industry all have a role in preventing fraud, however our concern is that the lack of awareness about identity fraud is making it even easier for fraudsters to obtain the information they need.”
In 2015, 86% of the identity fraud cases recorded by Cifas members were committed online. Only 3.4% of cases involved fictitious identities rather than real ones.
Mr Dukes added: “The likes of Facebook, Twitter, and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites – they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves. We are urging people to check their privacy settings today and think twice about what they share. To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine.”
In a recent blog post, Michael Coates, Twitter’s Trust & Information Security Officer wrote Twitter used a variety of methods to keep accounts safe.
He wrote: “We protect access to accounts by evaluating items such as location, device being used, and login history to identify suspicious account access or behaviour. In situations where your password has been directly exposed, you are sent a password reset notification; your account is protected until the owner of the email or phone number resets the password.”
Twitter declined to comment. Facebook have been approached for a comment.