Warning: Your Identity Could be Stolen by a Frog

Who would have thought that befriending a frog could be dangerous? Well, it is, if that frog has access to things like your e-mail address, birth date, home address, work info or school info. You may say to yourself that you would never be so foolish, but what kind of info do you post on social network pages?

The security company Sophos did a study and to find out what kind of information people are sharing and how easy it is to get hold of it. So, they created “Freddi Staur” – a fake Facebook user – then sent out 200 friend invites.

“Of the 200 people contacted, 87 responded and agreed to be friends … 82% of them gave “Freddi” an open view of their profiles … 72% divulged at least one of their e-mail addresses, 84% gave up their date of birth, and 87% offered details about where they went to school and where they work.”

Having personal information on your profile isn’t the problem. The problem is who has access to the info because it could be used to steal your identity. While it may be cool to have lots of friends – even if it’s just a frog – you need to stop and think what kind of information you are giving them and how safe you really are.

Read all the study details on the Sophos web site.

Update:

If one study isn’t convincing enough, here is another.  The BBC show Watchdog did a very similar study to Sophos study.  They created a false identity and befriended people on facebook. Then they took their study one step further.  They actually opened bank accounts and credit cards using the information of an individual that was provided on their profile!  Social networks are not as safe as we would like to think.  Read all the study details on the BBC web site.

Need another reason to be cautious of social networks?  Here’s one, facebook employees can track what profiles you are looking at.  Yep, not only can the look at anyone’s profile they can track the profiles that people look at.  While it may weird you out, it also helps keep people safe.  Check out the story and decide for yourself.

Author: Dave Nielsen

I started using computers in 1978 on the Apple II and was first online (using my “high-speed” 1200 baud modem) in 1989. I’ve managed web sites for several Fortune 500 companies and for internet start-ups. Working for one of those start-ups is what brought me into the world of credit. I was part of the the executive team that ran QSpace, the first company to offer credit reports over the internet.

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