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Identity Fraud Looming on Users of Facebook

According to "Which?", a consumer awareness group, users of the social networking site Facebook are exposing themselves to chances of identity fraud.

The consumer group highlights how people willingly give away Personal Identification (PIN) numbers and passwords through postings of certain personal details to the social networking site. Often these details relate to birth date, home address, and other contact details.

According to security experts, earlier research relating to Internet data breach and identity fraud indicates that cyber criminals browse deep into sites to harvest personal information, which they then exploit to create credit cards and to acquire bank loans.

A Facebook spokesperson said that the site encourages members to adjust their security configuration to their own comfort level. Finance Markets reported this on February 22, 2008. Security experts say some users by putting up their addresses and activity details about their holidays on Facebook 'status updates' effectively invite thieves to their houses.

"Which?" also points out how most users are ignorant about the amount of information stored on Websites for public access. The Information Commissioner's Office is conducting an investigation into why private information continues to exist on Facebook even after users withdraw their membership.

Discussing about data theft on the Internet, the security company Sophos told 'Which?' how users could be easily at risk due to their own unintelligent use of Facebook. For as there are millions of people within its network and it is nearly impossible to control over which other persons join the site, users could expose personal information to identity thieves by leaving the option of access to such data turned on at the site's default settings. Telegraph.co.uk reported this on February 21, 2008.

Neil Fowler, editor of 'Which?', was shocked to find the amount of private information about him online which cyber crooks could potentially use to carry out fraudulent operations. Telegraph.co.uk published this. Fowler said that everyone needs to be more protective about their data both offline and online.

Meanwhile, 'Which?' advised people to regularly check their credit card and bank statements for unknown transactions, and it has framed a checklist of suggestions to cut the risk of identity theft.

Related article: Identity Thieves on the Internet Increasing Rapidly

» SPAMfighter News - 3/1/2008

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