Facebook users face identity theft says ex-conman

The Guardian (UK) newspaper is reporting that Frank Abagnale (portrayed by Leonardo Di Caprio in the movie Catch me if you can) is warning Facebook users of potential identity theft.

 Abagnale said that children in particular need to be made aware of the serious risks of unwittingly revealing information on social networking sites.

Another readily available programme, which Abagnale said is owned by Google, uses facial recognition that can match an individual with their personal information on the social networking website “in just seven seconds”.

“If you tell me your date of birth and where you’re born [on Facebook] I’m 98% [of the way] to stealing your identity,” he said. “Never state your date of birth and where you were born [on personal profiles], otherwise you are saying ‘come and steal my identity’.”

He also advised Facebook users to never choose a passport-style photograph as a profile picture, and instead use group photographs.

The most interesting point Abagnale makes is:

Abagnale said that while it was common to see companies such as Facebook being criticised for privacy issues in the media, it is up to people to take action to keep their data private.

“Your privacy is the only thing you have left,” he said. “Don’t blame all the other companies – Google, Facebook – you control it. You have to keep control of your own information.”

Read the whole post here.

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