Fraudsters need just three pieces of personal information to steal your identity, most of which can be found on your Facebook profile.
All it takes is your name, date of birth and address for fraudsters to steal your identity and access your bank accounts, take out loans or take out mobile phones in your name.
Recent YouGov research from Equifax has revealed that a high proportion of social media users risk identity theft by giving fraudsters easy access to this type of personal information.
The survey found that almost 30% of adults with a social media account include their full name and date of birth on their profile pages.
Finding out your age and where you live
Even if you don’t publically show your age on your Facebook profile, fraudsters can still work out your age from people wishing you well on your timeline. Once they have your date of birth, they can find out where you live too.
You should review your privacy settings and ensure you are not revealing too much. If you need some guidance, this complete guide will help you keep control of your Facebook account.
John Marsden, head of ID and fraud at Equifax, said: "People must act now to protect their finances for the long term. More adults in the UK are engaging with social media than ever before, especially on their smartphones, and a high number are readily sharing their personal information on these platforms."
“Fraudsters get hold of this type of information so they can impersonate an individual, either by setting up accounts in their name or accessing existing accounts and stealing from them. The extent of damage can run to thousands of pounds worth of debt being racked up in your name. My advice to consumers is to be social savvy; avoid unnecessarily sharing personal details and risking your identity on platforms that can so easily be exploited. It’s always nice to receive well wishes on your birthday – but is it worth the risk?”
If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should act quickly and not ignore the problem, follow our advice.