At ProtectMyID we feel it’s important to keep you, dear reader, updated about all things related to identity protection. And, we realize that being at the forefront of education requires being at the forefront of knowledge. Recently, the Identity Theft Resource Center performed the Facebook Social Media Survey. They sought to understand the mindset of consumers in relation to concerns about identity theft – in particular, financial identity theft – and the risks to your identity on social platforms. This week, we’re sharing some of the survey’s key findings.
Over exposure of personal information, often from multiple sources, is one of the primary factors involved in identity theft cases. Too much personal information can provide an identity thief with all of the necessary data to begin building an impersonation profile. In other cases, this information can be used in “social engineering” exploits, allowing phishing scams or other fraud to occur. This question was designed to find out what types of personal information are routinely posted on Facebook profiles.
93% of the respondents indicated that their full name could be found on their Facebook profile or wall. Very few people (only 4%) have their home address listed on their Facebook profile. Nearly 60% of those surveyed have the names of their family members listed on their profile and 33% of those surveyed have their current employer identified on their Facebook profile. At a minimum, many of these profiles may provide a good starting point for a thief to begin creating an impersonation file.
Looking at the results in this question in relation to the results for Question 1 – Is your Facebook profile set to “private”? – we find it likely that some percentage of these respondents do not have their profile set to private. Even when set to “private” some of this information is made available to the general public. When not set to private, all this information is available to anyone who seeks it.
More than 1/3rd of respondents incorrectly believe that the information on their Facebook profile cannot lead to financial identity theft. Certainly some profiles have a wealth of information, and others are very sparse. However, most of the personal information presented on a Facebook profile can be used to help build an impersonation profile.
Dear reader, is the information required to impersonate your personal profile available for all the public to see?