How Mother's Day Facebook celebrations can lead to identity theft

Filed Under: Data loss, Facebook, Privacy, Social networks

Mother and babyA couple of weeks ago I explained why you shouldn't reveal your Royal Wedding guest name. Now I have to warn you that celebrating Mother's Day can lead to you giving away too much personal information about your children.

Here's a message which has been passed around on Facebook for a few days:

In honor of Mother's Day...If you are a proud mother re post with the name, birth date, & birth weight of your child/children!

Mother's Day post on Facebook

See what they've done? They've told me the name of their children and their precise date of birth. And I'm not even friends with them, they've left their profiles open for the entire world to see because they haven't followed best practice guidelines for Facebook privacy settings.

And - don't forget - when you share a piece of information with everyone on Facebook, that actually means the entire internet for ever. This information by itself may not be enough to commit identity theft against your child, but it's a stepping stone for fraudsters which can help them.

You shouldn't post this kind of personal information onto the internet - tell people you love your children and are proud of them without revealing their full names or dates of birth.

If you use Facebook and want to learn more about threats, you should join the Sophos Facebook page where we have a thriving community of over 100,000 people.

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3 Responses to How Mother's Day Facebook celebrations can lead to identity theft

  1. Well Mother's Day is now over, but thanks for this information...

  2. washcomom · 1229 days ago

    That's a little late in coming. Usually it starts at least a week before a big holiday.

  3. mrsdepollo · 1228 days ago

    Yes, but there are always things like this going around Facebook. It's good advice.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.