Web users complacent about their personal data 42% of those polled posted date of birth online

18 August 2011

ID theft

Identity theft is a serious threat, but identity theft insurance is usually not worth the money

UK consumers are too complacent about the personal and sensitive data they post online and consequently are increasingly at risk of identity theft, according to the results of a recent survey.

Earlier this year, internet security software vendor BullGuard asked 2,000 UK adults about the personal and sensitive data they stored on social networking sites, forums, groups and other interactive services.

Almost half of those polled (42%) said they’d posted their date of birth on their social networking profiles. A further 18% also admitted to including their telephone numbers.

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Information easily exploited

In addition, 14% allowed online banking websites to do the same with their bank details.

Over a third of the respondents who had Facebook and Twitter accounts said they'd updated their profiles to publicise the fact that they were away for the weekend or were going on holiday.

Claus Villumsen, Internet security expert at BullGuard, said: ‘Part of the appeal of social networking is obviously the ability to share information to stimulate conversation and build a “personality” for yourself online.

'But this is something that malicious users are also aware of, making it an attractive way to build up a profile on an individual.

'Opportunistic malicious parties often find such sources to be prime targets for gathering information on users, and without sufficient security measures in place this makes it all too easy to gather personal details that could make an individual more vulnerable to attack.'

Read our free guide to keeping your identity safe for simple and easy to follow advice.

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