Social networking sites are being used by criminals to steal peoples' identity. Once enough information has been gathered, credit cards and other services are set-up in the name of the person being targeted.
There are various sources on the Internet where thieves can collate information about a potential victim, such as the Land Registry information and the electoral register. However adding too much personal information to social networking sites like Facebook can facilitate thieves and make you an easy target.
So what can you do to minimise the possibility of online identity theft?
- Make your Facebook profile only viewable by your friends.
- Don't disclose your full date of birth, address and current employer, job title and other personal data.
- Don't let Facebook allow search engines access to your page.
- Use different passwords for each site and don't use easy to guess names like your pets name or 'password' 'abc' etc.
- Don't add friend requests of people you don't know.
- Install anti-spyware and anti-virus software on your computer, keep it up-to-date and scan your machine regularly.
- Install an anti-phishing toolbar on your web browser, such as NetCraft and don't click on links in emails that purport to come from legitimate sources such as banks or other merchants like eBay. Instead type the URL into your web browser.