Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Identity theft how simple is it

Armed with a few spare minutes and nothing but a mobile number for an eBay seller I was picking some kit up of I wondered how much I could find out about this person?

Step 1 – Asked Google

Google gave me a few spammy hits plus a link to a page on Facebook called "I have lost my phone, please tell me your mobile number again", I mean come on people. There were about 90 mobile phone numbers alongside this persons ‘friends’ names.

Step 2 – Facebook

Following through to the person profile for my ebay seller, a quick skim through their wall showed a load of birthday wishes a few months back, whilst their profile details mentioned they graduated from XXX university in 2002.
He also had a picture of his pride and joy, a beat up VW polo with its number plate visible in the photo.
So some simple maths gave me their date of birth +/- a year.

Step 3 – some more public sites

A quick scout of Linkedin gave me a few more clues on where they worked and adding this to the Facebook data a rough idea of where they lived too.

Twitter had no results, so they weren’t a geek (he works in a hotel btw)

Via BT, whitepages and 123people, using name and rough location I got a hit on an address, same surname but different initials (maybe lived with parents?)


So in half an hour I had;

1. Full name
2. Date of Birth
3. Postal Address
4. List of friends,mobile numbers (and all their names too, possibly DOBs)
5. Current employer and their address
6. Car number plate, although not sure what I could use it for?

This is probably enough to do bad stuff with, or at least cause some havoc.
I really don’t think people understand how easy it is now to piece together a full identity of just about anyone.

Yes there are bad people on the net that look for this stuff, but we really need to make it hard for them don’t we?



I picked up my eBay purchase (from the address I found above it happens – strike 1), from the sellers father (strike 2), when I asked how his son was getting on at his new job (maybe pushing it a bit far with this), he said good but then looked at me a little bemused.

But I had already paid for the items so all is fair in identity theft and eBay purchases.

Keep it locked away

Its a dirt internet, keep it clean and hide the data you don’t want people to know about. You wouldn’t write your PC password on a post-it note and stick it to your screen would you?

No comments: