Social media making it easier for fraudsters to target young people

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Social media making it easier for fraudsters to target young people

Statistics have been released today by Cifas, the fraud prevention organisation, about identity theft which should make us all think.

The data shows record levels of identity frauds in 2016 and young people being particularly vulnerable with identity theft for the under 21 age group rising by a third. 88% of identity fraud occurred online.

Young people are targeted as they are less likely to check their credit history regularly and they may move postal address more often, making it easier for the fraudster to operate. Although keeping software updated and using strong passwords to protect their identity online are obvious steps to take, where young people are most vulnerable is via the information they share freely online.

A generation which is happy to give away personal information in order to access discounts for internet shopping or to gain benefits from social media platforms may be too comfortable with putting information out on the public internet. Naivety about how their personal data is used may go further than targeted advertising and result in criminals exploiting them.
Whilst footballers may have their homes broken into by tweeting about their holidays abroad, a young graduate, who as a teenager lived their life out openly online, may find that the repercussions can last a lot longer if their identity has been hijacked and they can’t get credit.

Our advice

Our advice to young people is to think about what answers they give to security questions used to confirm their identity by banks or other organisations and ensure that these cannot be worked out by the information available about them on line. Use all privacy settings available and do not connect to people online whom you do not know. Only give the exact date of your birth when it is compulsory to do so and think very carefully about how you want your data to be used. If you are careful about your online presence, then you are a harder target.

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