New figures show identity fraud is at a record high, with the number of under-21s defrauded rising by a third last year.
Statistics from 277 UK banks and businesses show almost 173,000 recorded identity frauds in 2016. This is the highest level since records began 13 years ago.
Over 80% of fraud cases are committed online, with fraudsters gleaning much information about young people from social media use.
Ricky Magalhaes, Head of Cyber Security, Logicalis, said: “Everyone needs to be more vigilant about what they post online and should be aware that anything that is on a public forum, or on a social media page with public access, can be used by criminals to commit identity fraud.
“Fraudsters can gain information such as your name, date of birth, location, and even your address, from information you post online. The rise in identity fraud among young people is perhaps partly due to them being more active on social media, and being more open about what they share.”
The latest figures, which were collated by Cifas, a fraud prevention organisation, highlight the growth of identity fraud, with cases up from 77,642 in the UK in 2008 to 172,919 in 2016.
Ricky said: “The easiest way to stay safe online and to protect your identity is to think carefully about what you share online, and to be aware what the privacy settings are on all your accounts. All social media accounts allow you to choose your privacy settings, so be careful to set things to private if you don’t want them to be in the public domain.
“There have been cases of fraud in the Channel Islands that have happened when someone has accepted a friend request from a criminal pretending to be someone you know. Accepting a friend request from someone like this opens up even more information to criminals, putting you at greater risk.”