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Social Networking Sites Used for Identity Theft

( Recent reports show that there has been a huge increase in social networking sites being used for identity theft, says Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff at the beginning of Fraud Awareness Week 2010.

“With the wealth of personal information on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, criminals can have a field day. If someone gets enough personal information about you – like your name, address, date of birth, bank account number or employment details – they could apply for a credit card or loan in your name and ultimately steal from you. Also, your details could be sold to someone else,” says Ms Shroff.

“People need to think about what personal information they are putting onto social networking sites and check their privacy settings,” advises Ms Shroff.

The Privacy Commissioner also reminds people not to email information like bank account or password details to anyone. An email can appear to be from a friend when in fact it is from someone with criminal intentions. Check carefully who you are replying to and always check links in emails. If they look suspicious they may be taking you taken to an unsafe website, and it’s best to delete the email.

“Your personal information has value – don’t let someone else profit from it,” says Ms Shroff.

Fraud Awareness Week is part of an international campaign to raise awareness about scams.

Media Release 1 March 2010 from Privacy Commissioner.
For more information contact Cathy Henry on 021 509 735 or



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