According to the fraud prevention service Cifas, the number of victims of identity theft rose by a staggering 57% last year. The data, which was generated from 261 companies in the UK indicates that these fraudsters are getting people’s’ information from social media sites.
“Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn had become a “hunting ground” for identity thieves. It said there were more than 148,000 victims in the UK in 2015 compared with 94,500 in 2014.
A small percentage of cases involved fictitious identities but most fraudsters assumed the identity of a real person after accessing their name, date of birth, address and bank details. More than 85% of the frauds were carried out online.
Some personal details were found by hacking computers but increasingly fraudsters used social media to put together the pieces of someone’s identity”
Looks like the days of people putting private data online is and should be coming to an end. There are campaigns like Get Safe Online which help warn people of these dangers. From the BBC:
“The Get Safe Online campaign warns people not to give away details such as phone numbers, addresses or date of birth, or pictures of their home, workplace or school, in either profile information or posts.
Often victims did not even realise they had been targeted until a bill arrived for something they did not buy or they experienced problems with their credit rating, the fraud prevention service added.”
The moral of this story is that you should remove any and all private identifying data from anything you upload publicly online. This includes EXIF data from your camera photos, which can contain location etc. Then make sure that the data you do upload is behind strict privacy settings.