Security experts are urging social media users to remove personal information, such as birthdays, from their profiles to prevent online identity fraud.
According to new research by Cifas , prolific sharers online are putting themselves at increased risk by sharing even the most basic details, as cyber scammers are turning to social media to mine profiles for personal information.
Cifas’ report revealed that the number of cases of identity theft rose by 57 per cent last year, with 148,000 people becoming victim to identity thefts and costing the economy £193bn.
The report also claimed that 86 per cent of all identity frauds in 2015 were perpetrated online, many of which didn’t employ hacking, as it is far simpler for cyber crooks to use social media to piece together the details of a person’s identity.
The likes of Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites,” said Cifas chief executive Simon Dukes. “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.”
The Get Safe Online campaign is also warning users against what they share in the world of social media. It said even posting pictures can put you at greater risk.
“Be wary of publishing any identifying information about yourself – either in your profile or in your posts – such as phone numbers, pictures of your home, workplace or school, your address or birthday,” the website warned .
Facebook itself is aware of how rampant online identity fraud has become. The network introduced a tool just days ago that can detect and warn you when someone is pretending to be you.
Facebook is well aware of how rampant online identity fraud has become
In future, if someone steals your identity and creates and account using your profile photo and name, the social network will send you an alert that asks you to verify whether or not the account is impersonating you.
The process of alerting users to fake accounts is automatic, but flagged profiles are reviewed manually by humans at Facebook.
The social media giant is also trialling new ways of reporting the posting of ‘revenge porn’ or other nonconsensual intimate images.