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Do you really know who your Facebook friends are?

3rd August 2010

Millions of social networking users are not adequately using privacy settings, leaving them open to identity theft and fraud.

Research from Equifax found that 62% of Facebook users provide their full date of birth on their profile; more than three quarters provide a personal email address and almost a third give the name of their employer.

Facebook privacy settings should be used

It was also found that 19% of social networking users do not use any privacy settings, and a further 9% are not aware of what privacy settings mean. Additionally, 47% did not regularly review their privacy settings.

Facebook ‘friends’

Even personal data that is only accessible by a user’s friends can be used to commit identity fraud or theft. Equifax found that the average number of ‘friends’ for Facebook users is 130. Do users know this number of ‘friends’ well enough to know that they won’t abuse the personal information they see?

There is also no guarantee that these ‘friends’ practice good online safety. Research also shows that 17% of individuals know their partner’s social networking passwords, so more people could have access to a user’s profile than they think.

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

See also:
Online fraud
Identity fraud and theft
Top ten fraud prevention tips