One of the world’s most famous confidence men has his reservations about Facebook.
Speaking at the Advertising Week Europe conference, Frank Abagnale says that he completely understands why people like Facebook. But he warns that the network is full of people who don’t really understand just how far they’re putting themselves out there. And that Facebook is basically a godsend for potential identity thieves.
Abagnale would know a thing or two about identity theft. He’s known as one of the most successful impostors of all time, assuming the identities of pilots, doctors, lawyers, and even a U.S. prison agent. You may know him as the subject of the 2002 Steven Spielberg film Catch Me If You Can. He’s the guy played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Abagnale suggests that users never include their date and place of birth together. He also warned against using “passport style” photos as profile pictures. To be safe, you should opt for group photos.
“If you tell me your date of birth and where you’re born [on Facebook] I’m 98% [of the way] to stealing your identity,” he said. “Never state your date of birth and where you were born [on personal profiles], otherwise you are saying ‘come and steal my identity'”.
He even discussed the concept of Facebook likes giving away tons of information about you. People (some with malicious intent) can use your history of likes (and even what you choose not to like) to discern your personal info, lifestyle choices, and personality traits. We recently ran a piece on this very same thing.
But he doesn’t put all the blame on Facebook and other social media and tech services. “Don’t blame all the other companies…you control it,” he said.
“What I did 40 years ago as a teenage boy is 4,000 times easier now,” he said. “Technology breeds crime.”
Chilling words from a guy who knows what he’s talking about.
[via The Guardian]