How public is your private information on social media?


Identity theft is a form of stealing someone’s identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity, usually as a method to gain access to resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person’s name (Wikipedia).

How the thief obtains such information can take a variety of forms from stealing personal documents to accessing digital records. One approach however is by scanning public social media profiles. By looking at a number of different profiles for one individual it is often easier than you might think to piece this information together to come up with just the details required to create a fraudulent identity.

Armed with sensitive information hackers can easily crack common security questions such as mothers maiden name, name of first pet, city you were born in…

It is therefore important to think about how public your private information is. Taking the following measures will help to keep your information safer:

  • Check your security settings and adjust them accordingly
  • Never share passwords online
  • Change your password regularly
  • Google yourself and find out what others can see from your digital presence.

The infographic below featured on All Twitter  and created by provides some useful points to consider regarding your information and what can be easily found on public profiles. It’s worth spending a moment to consider what information you share publicly.



Image source: and


About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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