A recent study by online security firm Sophos found that an estimated 41% of all Facebook users are willing to give personal information to a stranger that could result in some form of identity theft.
Sophos created a fake Facebook profile and then attempted to "connect" with other users of the popular social network. 41% of the existing Facebook users that were approached confided some form of personal information to Sophos.
- 72% of respondents divulged one or more email address
- 84% of respondents listed their full date of birth
- 87% of respondents provided details about their education or workplace
- 78% of respondents listed their current address or location
- 23% of respondents listed their current phone number
- 26% of respondents provided their instant messaging screenname
Direct access to this type of information by individuals with malicious intent could leave these Facebook users open to some form of identity theft.
Identity theft is a real danger both off-line and online and it is important for people to use the same best practices to help protect their identity. It is a good idea to limit the amount of your personal information that is available on the web. A good rule of thumb is to not expose any information on the Internet that you wouldn't provide to a stranger you bumped into on the street.
As the popularity of social networks grows and more and more consumer information is available on the web, we feel that it is more important than ever that consumers utilize the services of an identity theft protection service such as LifeLock or ID Guard. You can learn more about identity theft protection at nextadvisor.com.
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