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ID fraud warning for Instagram oversharers

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Written by: Emma Lunn
02/08/2019
Celebrities oversharing on Instagram are putting their social media followers at risk of identity theft and social engineering, according to Santander.

The bank’s research found that 40 per cent of under-25s are influenced by what celebrities post online, with one in three (33 per cent) admitting they have used an actual celebrity post to inspire their own content.

Nearly nine in 10 (87 per cent) of under-25s confess to having shared personal details on Instagram that could leave them at risk of scams, with one in 10 (10 per cent) admitting they have shared the name of a pet on Instagram while also using it as a password.

Santander found that more than a quarter (26 per cent) of the Instagram accounts followed by under-25s belonging to celebrities, with 40 per cent of under-25s admitting to being influenced by celebrities’ posts.

Sharing personal details on social media can enable fraudsters to build up profiles of victims to use against them. This information can be manipulated to fraudulently apply for financial products, such as loans or credit cards, in the victim’s name or to socially engineer them into divulging more of their personal details or even transferring money to another account.

Santander’s research also found that 87 per cent of under-25s admit to having posted personal information on social media, while 78 per cent confess to not knowing how to protect themselves from identity theft. Among 18 to 24-year-olds, nearly half (48 per cent) have used the same password for multiple websites.

More than a tenth (11 per cent) of 18 to 24-year-olds said they had fallen victim to identity theft, while 36 per cent knew somebody who had.

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud strategy at Santander, said: “Constantly sharing details of your life on social media is often seen as a way of staying connected with your friends and family, but oversharing can open you up to being targeted by criminals. Make sure you get the balance right and don’t give fraudsters an easy ride. Check your privacy settings are on, stay vigilant and consider what you’re giving away before hitting post.”

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