The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a new study from credit-reporting service Experian linking information made public on social-networking sites and identity theft:
More than half of adults 45 and older who are on social networks like Facebook could be in danger of becoming victims of identity theft or other crimes because they share too much private information, according to a study released today.
In one example, the study commissioned by a unit of credit reporting services firm Experian found that 14 percent of adults – and 20 percent of those age 60 and over – listed their full home addresses in their social media profiles.
If they then post updates from a trip, that tells thieves “no one is watching your house,” said Jennifer Leuer, general manager of Experian’s ProtectMyID.com. “You obviously don’t want everybody on the Web to be able to see that.”
The study, which sampled 1,052 men and women age 45 and over, covered social networks in general and did not focus on the most popular one, Facebook. […]
An identity thief could piece together sensitive details, such as a pet’s name, birthplace or school name, that are frequently used as answers to gain access to a bank account password.
“I don’t think we’re saying to not talk about family or friends, but to be careful who you’re sharing that with,” Leuer said. “You express what makes you unique on these sites, but it can really be used to steal your identity as well.”