It seems like everyone is on Facebook. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends and relatives. We share our experiences and our photos (especially of kids, pets and food).
But it pays to be careful what you post on Facebook. The copy and paste “games” that are spread from status to status can be used for identity theft. But because it’s on Facebook, users assume the “games” are harmless. They aren’t.
Recent Facebook ‘Games’ Geared to Steal Your Information
In the last six months, we have identified at least three Facebook copy and paste “games” used in statuses that are easily recognized as possible identity theft strategies.
A pre-Mother’s Day posting was being circulated asking users to give the full first and middle names of their children along with their exact birth dates.
It went something like: “Happy Mother’s Day! Celebrate your motherhood. Share your children’s first and middle names and birth dates in order. Copy and paste to share motherhood!”
How many people use their children’s names and ages or birth dates as passwords or security questions to gain access to their accounts?
Think about the security questions you have been asked for your accounts.
Your dad’s middle name?
Your first school?
Your first pet’s name?
Your first car?
But perhaps the most obvious example happened this month. And it’s shocking to us that some Facebook users are actively participating in this one. And they are.
It starts with “You never know who you could be related to. Use maiden name for females plz.”
And then the user fills in the blank list of last names:
My Dad was XXX.
His Dad was XXX.
My Mom was XXX.
His Mom was XXX.
Seriously, users are just publicly posting their mother’s (and their significant other’s mother’s) maiden names!
We all know that a mother’s maiden name is a key factor in credit and account security of all types.
Use Caution and Common Sense
Facebook is a great place to socialize but please be careful about what you share. Identity theft via these “games” is a real threat.
Think about what you post. If you were in a coffee shop and a stranger asked what your mother’s maiden name was, would you tell them? What if they asked for the last four digits of your Social Security number?
Remember what you post online is public and may be permanent – no matter what your privacy settings might be.
Have fun with Facebook – and all social media channels. But remember, what you post isn’t always private.