Can Social Networking Cause Identity Theft?

Jul 25, 2007 • 9:00 am | comments (3) by twitter | Filed Under Social Search Engines & Optimization

Chris Winfield at Cre8asite Forums poses an interesting challenge for those of us who use social networking sites religiously. Is it a threat to your security? This question is promoted by an article where opponents of providing personal information believe that it indeed is a threat:

According to credit information provider Equifax, fraudsters could make off with users' personal information in order to commit ID theft--and the company is urging Web users to limit the amount of info they post online.

Most forum members are cautious about volunteering a lot of information. I understand that. It is rather difficult, however, for the young users of sites like MySpace and Facebook not to volunteer their personal information. The sites encourage it (if you don't enter a birthday on Facebook, for example, you get prompted to do so every time you log in until you do).

Still, that doesn't necessarily work well for some users.

[S]ecurity is a frame of mind, a way of life. You're either secure or not. To give an analogy, why lock the windows if you leave the door wide open? Lock everything!

I believe that users need to exercise caution when providing intimate details about themselves online. There's no reason to share with the world the last 4 digits of your social security number, your mother's maiden name, your father's middle name, or the name of your first pet. However, if this poses a problem in the future, and I can see that it might, it becomes a matter of credit providers to evolve, because there are millions of innocent victims whose identities are at risk on these social sites.

Neil Munroe, external affairs director for Equifax, said in a statement: "The problem is that people don't realize the significance of the kind of information they are putting out on the Web and who may be accessing it." He cited details such as date of birth, e-mail, job and marital status as the kind of data frequently posted online by unwary users.

It's time that those "minor" detail requirements are replaced by lesser known details.

Forum discussion continues at Cre8asite Forums.

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11/22/2007 06:57 pm

Yes,sure social networking causes Identity theft and there are n number of ways nowadays the fraudsters are coming up with innovative trics.Sadly, most fraudsters don't care about what they do to us.So i suggest people learn and read some useful sources about identity theft,creditcard frauds,etc. I have found one web www . onlineguards . com which educates people about ongoing scams. Thank you team for helping people and educating us.


07/11/2008 01:27 pm

Do safe net suffering. don't want to give the original number and identification on the intenet. ______________________ smac


09/27/2013 10:59 am

Being calm and patient is one of the things that can help a lot. Identity thieves try to catch people when their emotional state is such that they are vulnerable. They also try to work people into a state where they are less likely to make rational decisions. For example, a thief will call and tell you that your account has been hacked into and your money is at risk of being stolen. All they need is some information from you... When we keep calm we are better able to assess the danger from identity thieves. We are also more likely to pick up clues that something is not right.

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