I’m sure that at least once in your lifetime you have called your bank asking about the balance of your credit card account. I’m also sure you remember (at least partially) the identity verification procedure, i. e. the questions the operator asks to make sure you are really the account owner. Well, with a bit of help from Facebook (and some hints from a search engine) plus an additional half hour of surfing your social network account, one could easily find the answers to most of those questions.
First one would need to know your name, date of birth and address. Most Facebook users employ their real name, so this one is easy. The same goes for the date of birth, probably except for the year â€“ but one could easily find this out just by deducing it from your graduation year (which, again, shows up in most accounts). Your country and city are probably on your profile but the biggest challenge would be your street address. This could be discovered after scrutinizing the account for status, comments or other details about happenings in your neighborhood (â€œThere’s a big fire at the mall X, two blocks away from my place.â€ plus a picture). Then one only needs to search in White Pages or a similar Web site.
Parents’ or pet’s name, phone number, e-mail address, some digits on your credit card, expiration date and its credit limit may raise some issues, but not necessarily insurmountable. Chances are the first two are already on your wall â€“ your parents could appear in the â€œFamilyâ€ list or in some pictures you posted, tagged or commented on, not to mention your other status updates (those around holidays spent with the family are best). Phone number and e-mail address are somewhere on the Internet too, so here a search engine could come in handy again, unless you disclosed them willingly in your profile.
If you think your credit card digits, expiration date and credit limit are difficult to discover, think again. One could examine the photos you’ve uploaded, search for those you took on vacation or in a resort, try to identify the hotel or hostel and then give you a call, impersonating someone from the staff and asking for these details because â€œthere was a problem with your paymentâ€. And if there are no vacation pictures, one could search for something you ordered on the Internet and you couldn’t help bragging about its recent delivery.
Then all one needs to do is to call your bank, answer the questions and… ta da!
Safe surfing and smart sharing everybody!
All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.