Fraudsters targeting Facebook to steal sensitive information

New research has found that almost a third of UK adults could be at risk of identity theft due to the level of information they make public about themselves on social media websites such as Facebook.

According to the study, which was carried out by YouGov in collaboration with Equifax, the majority of modern-day fraudsters only need three pieces of information in order to steal a person’s identity and use this to potentially access bank accounts, or take out loans and mobile phones in that person’s name.

These three pieces of vital information are: the person’s name, address and date of birth – all of which a worrying number of UK adults (30 per cent) admit to including on their Facebook profile pages.

John Marsden, of Equifax, said: “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.

“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”.

Moore Thompson are reminding our clients to stay safe when using social media, and limit the amount of information publicly accessible on websites such as Facebook.

We would also like to reiterate that any personal information you may have marked up as ‘private’ on your Facebook page could also be accessed if your account is hacked by a cyber-criminal. It is important to regularly update your passwords and think twice before publishing any delicate information online.