Are your Social Networks Protected against Identity Fraud?

BBC News reported in July 2016 that, according to Cifas, UK identity fraud has increased by 57% in one year. Online thieves are using our social media accounts to steal our identities because we don’t set our privacy. Lack of awareness is making it even easier for fraudsters to find the personal information they need. Social network sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have become “the hunting ground for identity thieves.” Say Cifas.

Data, taken from 261 companies in the UK found there were more than 148,000 victims in the UK in 2015 compared with 94,500 in 2014.

Simon Dukes, Cifas, Chief Executive said:

“To a fraudster, the information we put online is a goldmine…. As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.”

So what can we do to protect ourselves? 

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  Get Safe Online fraud prevention service added. 

We need to set our privacy and think twice about what we share.

To set your privacy you need to go into the settings option on each of your social media sites (usually found by clicking on the cog icon at the top of your screen). Then take it off ‘public’ and choose friends, followers.

It’s important, as teachers or parents that we get into the habit of ensuring that together with our students or children we automatically set all our privacy settings every time they download a social networking app or sign up to a social network website.

Taking a few simple steps will help us to enjoy the benefits while reducing the risks.


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