The Internet Resource Centre (www.idtheft.org) carried out a survey to help Facebook users deal with concerns over identity theft.
The key concern from the survey results is that many Facebook users don’t understand the privacy settings and believe their information has more restricted circulation than is actually the case.
63% of respondents believed their information was only visible to friends if their profile was set to private. Not true.
Over 90% of respondents say they have their full name visible on their profile and more than 50% have their birthday, pets names, hometown, high school name and current city visible. All of this information is very useful to identity thieves.
Most people do not share passwords with others, but 10% say they reuse the same password on other sites. If your password is hacked, then the hackers often try the same login and password on other systems so if you share passwords across systems then you’re putting all of them all at risk from one hack.
Most survey respondents have received scam emails and messages, phishing emails and messages and more than 10% report their account was accessed without their permission. The results were mostly embarrassment and damage to reputation but also loss of money in some cases.
Many victims of identity theft do not realise their identity has been compromised until some time later e.g. when a bank statement arrives or debt collectors start to phone. By then a lot of damage could already have been done.
The page at http://www.digitalspy.com/tech/feature/a552990/how-do-i-make-my-facebook-profile-private/ contains detailed information on Facebook privacy settings.
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