Your Facebook ‘likes’ reveal more about you than you think

7 Jul 2016

An eye-opening coffee shop study in the UK has shown customers just how much they reveal about themselves when they simply ‘like’ a web page.

Filmed outside a London coffee shop earlier this year, Cifas – a fraud prevention service in the UK – has produced a simple, yet telling, video.

By simply asking customers of the shop to like the company web page, Cifas technicians were able to immediately get to work, scanning through the related social media accounts to garner as much personalised information as possible in just a matter of minutes.

When the customers subsequently ordered their coffee, what they received was a cup with more than their name written on it.

Featuring a CV worth of background information, phone numbers, the name of the schools attended, places of work, interests and religious beliefs, customers were visibly stunned by what they were receiving.

It is all part of a campaign to enlighten internet users of just how much information they are revealing about themselves online. And, more importantly, just how easy it is for would-be fraudsters to access it all.

“Fraudsters are opportunists,” said Simon Dukes, chief executive at Cifas. “As banks and lenders have become more adept at detecting false identities, fraudsters have focused on stealing and using genuine people’s details instead.”

This push to raise awareness comes at a crucial time, with social engineering now front and centre of a growing number of financial fraud scams.

In the UK, Cifas claims there had been a 52pc rise in young identity fruad victims in the past year.

Meanwhile The Irish Times recently reported on a growing fear of SIM swap fraud, which is heavily based in social engineering, and how much information we throw around the web, so-much-so that a simple Facebook like appears as a trigger behind quite a powerful gun.

“Society, government and industry all have a role in preventing fraud, however, our concern is that the lack of awareness about identity fraud is making it even easier for fraudsters to obtain the information they need,” said Dukes.

Social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are loaded with revealing information, should users embrace them fully, with Cifas urging people to keep a check on their privacy settings throughout the sites they use.

Facebook image via Jakraphong Photography/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic