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2 out of 5 Facebook users give all to identity thieves

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New research
finds that 41% of Facebook users are happy to reveal all to potential
identity thieves.  The researchers found this out by creating a fabricated Facebook profile before sending out friend requests to people chosen at random from around the world.  The fabricated character is one Freddi Staur, an anagram of ID Fraudster

gave out hardly any personal information about himself but sent out 200
friend requests to a random group of people, to see how many would
respond and how much personal information could be gleaned from the
respondents.  The results were:

  • 87 of the 200 Facebook users contacted responded to Freddi, with 82 leaking personal information (41% of those approached)
  • 72% of respondents divulged one or more email address
  • 84% of respondents listed their full date of birth
  • 87% of respondents provided details about their education or workplace
  • 78% of respondents listed their current address or location
  • 23% of respondents listed their current phone number
  • 26% of respondents provided their instant messaging screenname

users unwittingly allowed Freddi to gain access to their profile
information simply by sending response messages such as "Who are you?"
and "Do I know you?" back to his Facebook inbox. 

Having recently become a true Facebooker myself by launching the Financial Services Club ( on the Facebook network here,
I'm converted.  It's a simple way to keep in touch as well as an easy
way to create a personal or professional network online by allowing you
to put all your thoughts, blogs, events, news, ideas, and so forth in
one place, with everyone able to join in, share and contribute.

the message of the research is to beware how much you give away and
they also provide a best practices guide to keep your security in

Meantime, it shouldn't stop the fun with my favourite
Facebook group created by Damien Mason in Australia.  His group is
called "If 100,000 people  join, my wife will let me name my second child Spiderpig",
which had 20,000 people joined up by last Friday and is gaining
momentum, with over 25,000 signing up just in the last 24 hours so the
group is now coming up to 60,000 this morning) ...

... looks like Mrs. Mason's newborn will be called Spiderpig.

Homer Simpson, you don't know what you've done.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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