According to Graham Cluely of Sophos,”There is an Oprah mentality to some of these sites – people let it all hang out, and update their information minute by minute.”
To what is he referring you may ask?
Social networking sites and the rise in identity theft is the answer.
Facebook was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg, a student at Harvard.
What began as a small network soon grew until it targeted all US students.
Less than a year later, the network was opened up to all student around the world, subject to having an academic email address.
Facebook really exploded in September 2006 when they allowed absolutely anyone to join, subject to being aged 13 or over.
Since that time, Facebook has grown exponentially, with the network now boasting over 42 million active members worldwide.
According to Alexa, Facebook is the 7th most visited site on the whole internet.
When joining Facebook, each member creates their own profile, quite often including personal details such as date of birth, location, educational level and employment details.
In fact, a whole range of information that would be invaluable to an identity thief.
The information given on Facebook might seem trivial in itself but, when combined with other resources on the internet, such as the electoral roll, it can easily lead to a case of lost identity.
All too easy
Procedures may be different in other countries but here in the UK an identity thief could –
- Order a duplicate birth certificate of any other person born in the UK for a small fee. This can be paid in cash by anyone.
- Use that birth certificate to easily acquire a Passport.
- Obtain a driving licence by providing the passport and a photograph.
- Use the passport and driving license as proof of identity to open a new bank account.
Considering how easily common information found on Facebook can be used to steal someone’s identity, I believe anyone who uses such services should think very long and hard before telling the world absolutely everything there is to know about them.