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Security: Protect yourself from identity theft and fraud

Posting personal information on the internet can lead to unwanted attention – including identity fraud.

Social networking sites in particular allow you to post detailed, personal information about yourself, from your date of birth, to all the schools you went to, to your favourite film: precisely the information that banks ask for as security questions.

Be careful about making the following information publicly available:

  • Your full name
  • Your full address
  • National insurance number
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Postcode

And if you’re asked to provide to this information, always ask yourself the question: ‘why am I being asked to provide this information / make it publicly available?’

Potential fraudsters can take seemingly random pieces of information about you from a range of sources to take guesses at bank security questions; to build up a profile of you which allows them to impersonate you; to open up credit cards in your name; or to get access to more of your personal information.

…So our advice is don’t make the following information publicly available either:

  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Current place of study
  • Current employer
  • Birthplace
  • Recent addresses
  • Recent places of study e.g. last school attended
  • Details of your interests e.g. pet’s names, favourite film, favourite colour

And always be suspicious of anyone who asks for your:

  • Bank account details
  • Credit card details

… or you could fall victim to phishing

A recent ‘sting’ carried out by the IT security company Sophos on Facebook, found that 41% of people would enable a complete stranger to see their profile, potentially allowing them to see personal information including date of birth, phone number and workplace.

Did you know...
  • …An ID fraudster could use information like your mother's maiden name, your date of birth and your favourite film to guess bank security questions?  

    …There were almost 40,000 cases of identity fraud committed in the first six months of 2007? (source: CIFAS, the UK's fraud prevention service)

    ... Information Services will never ask you for your network password via email!

    …So be careful what information you divulge about yourself!