Calling all Thieves, crooks, and scoundrels… or all three | Buzz Blog

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Calling all Thieves, crooks, and scoundrels… or all three

Posted By on July 8, 2009, 2:25 PM

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You love Facebook. We all do. But you know who really likes it? The thieves, crooks, and scoundrels mentioned in this blog’s title. According to a new study, sites like Facebook can be a crook’s greatest tool in stealing your face. This is because a lot of people who use Facebook have no qualms about spilling out personal informational to access of everyone.

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By finding people’s birthdates, age, and birth location on the internet, identity thiefs can find out a good number of social security numbers. In fact, the researchers of this study, economist Alessandro Acquisti and computer scientist Ralph Gross of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, were able to predict the full social security numbers of 8.5% of a sample of people born after 1989 in fewer than 1000 tries, and in some cases managed to get all nine digits on the first try.

So what can you do? The usual. Write your congressman, call them, etc., let them know your upset and would like them to work on fixing this problem. They could start by making sure that the Social Security Administration (SSA) refrains from publicly describing their methods for assigning numbers in various states, as they currently do.

I can’t help but think that, because there is no solution to this problem yet, I’m giving potential crooks some criminal gold here. But in the meantime, maybe change up the information on your Facebook and other social networking accounts. Do you really have to put your real birthday? Do you really need to let people know where you work? Or your home address? Come on now. Eh?

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