How your Facebook profile can lead to identity theft - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

How your Facebook profile can lead to identity theft

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - You might be giving out your social security number on Facebook just by answering two simple questions on your profile.

Identity thieves are out there, but how easy is it to steal someone's social security number? Last year, a computer system was created that was able to correctly guess the social security numbers for 8.5% of Americans born after 1989.

Your social security number isn't completely random. The first three numbers are determined by where you were born. So if you list your hometown on Facebook, most identity thieves already have a head start.

The second group of numbers is called a group number, and it is based on when and where your parents applied for your security number.

The third set of numbers is typically some kind of sequential pattern. Because those are not random, it's something that a computer would easily guess.

So if you list your birthday and your hometown on Facebook, that's giving potential identity thieves plenty of info to narrow down your social security number.

The future of Social Security numbers is about to change. Later this year the Federal Government plans to make all Social Security numbers completely random. But that won't help anyone who already has a number, which is why you need to be very careful about what information you put on Facebook.

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by Frankly