Social network users told they're at risk of burglary
Published 23/10/2010 | 05:00
A THIRD of people who use social networking sites are putting themselves at risk of burglary, an insurer warned yesterday.
Seven out of 10 adults use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, but many are revealing too much personal information, The Co-operative Insurance said.
Two-thirds of people have posted pictures of themselves on the sites, 60pc have disclosed their marital status and 42pc have shared their date of birth.
A quarter of people have uploaded pictures of their home or car, while 14pc have made their address available.
The group said that while this information may seem harmless, if it fell into the wrong hands it could enable a fraudster to commit a serious identity theft.
More worryingly, 36pc of people use the sites to update others on their whereabouts, while 35pc count down to events such as holidays, potentially alerting criminals to when their home will be empty.
Half of people who use the sites said that while they knew all of their 'friends', they did not see them all regularly, while 21pc admitted that while they knew most of them, some were friends of friends.
The group urged people to exercise caution when using social networking sites, only accepting friend requests from people they actually know, while keeping personal information to a minimum, and never revealing date of birth or address.
David Neave, director of general insurance at The Co-operative Insurance, said: "You have to ask yourself 'would I be happy to divulge this information normally?' If not, you shouldn't make people aware of it online."