Facebook and fraud: how criminals are preying on Web 2.0 users

By Matt Brady 

I have been espousing the virtues of social networking on this blog recently.  So all good, then?  Not according to Equifax.  A report by the credit information group warns that users of social networking sites such as Facebook are opening themselves up to fraudulent attacks if they publish their job, date of birth, location and other personal details.  The report adds that managers should increase security procedures for social networks and other Web 2.0 applications.  The full story can be read here: Social networking could harm businesses.

Certainly the amount of information some people reveal about themselves on social networking sites astounds me (it's also part of the appeal).  It didn't occur to me, however, that this information could be used in a harmful way by identity thieves.  Caution is therefore required.  Get Safe Online offers very useful advice in this regard, on how to protect your privacy online.

Comments (3)

  1. Jack Payne says:

    The con artists’ attacks on MySpace, much in the news lately, are understandable.  I recently joined, and, after perusing some of the Profiles, was shocked at the amount of detai so many people are willing to make public.

    I’ve written extensively on identity theft.  And, over the past 45 years have chased down, and exposed, just about every type of scam out there.  So, I am especially sensitive to this.  I was shocked when I checked my Profile on MySpace, and saw my age in print.

    I hit the ceiling.  Although I was careful to withhold just about everything about me, that alone is enough to upset me.  I am a special target of these people.

    –Jack Payne

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jack, thanks for your comment.  

    I was alarmed this week to discover that I temporarily had access to other users’ in-boxes and profiles on Facebook (and that mine were similarly visible to strangers).  This thankfully doesn’t happen very often, but it is a reminder to keep certain details private!  

    I think it’s generally important to note that we should all be careful about what we publish on the web.  Once information is there, it stays there.  As Celine Dion once sang (not my favourite singer, I hasten to add), "think twice…"

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