Are you at risk of identity theft? ID theft: top five mistakes


Which? research found it was possible to take out a credit card using information found on a volunteer’s social media accounts and public records.

Here are the most dangerous common errors we found when reviewing volunteers’ profiles.

1. ‘Thanks for the birthday messages’

Many of our volunteers had wisely avoided publishing their date of birth on their Facebook profiles. But several had mentioned birthday celebrations in public posts. A glance at the date stamp on these posts is all a fraudster needs to work our your date of birth.

2. Locking down your profile – except for old posts

Facebook has improved its tools for reviewing your privacy settings, but it's still too easy to change these settings without applying them to old posts. Look for the option to 'Limit Past Posts' to make sure you haven't left valuable information exposed to thieves.

3. Accepting friend requests from strangers

Be sure you know who your Friends are. Accepting friend requests when you're not certain of the sender's identity could mean all your privacy settings count for nothing.

4. Tagging posts with your location

Few social media users would willingly publish their home address on their profile. But you only have to allow Facebook to tag a post with your location once for fraudsters to be able to track you down.

5. Friends don’t have profiles locked down

You might have chosen the perfect privacy settings, but if your friends are posting information publicly, they could be revealing valuable information about you. Spread the word to make sure your friends lock down their profiles too.

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