London, Dec 20 (ANI): Think giving out basic personal information on Facebook is harmless? You might need to rethink, as a reformed burglar has given details on how a criminal can use your user account as a tool for committing a crime.
"The information people give out on Facebook, when linked up with other information freely available on the internet, is an absolute -goldmine for criminals," the Daily Mail quoted Michael Fraser, a reformed burglar who presents the BBC's 'Beat The Burglar' programme, as saying.
"One year, you might have a party and give out your address. A while later, you might tell everyone that it is your 30th birthday.
"So, if you've accepted me as a friend of a friend, I know your name, your address and your birth date.
"From that, I can go to 192.com and on there I can find out what you do for a living, how much your home is worth - and whether you're likely to be worth burgling.
"I might have already made up my mind because you've posted party -pictures on Facebook and I can see what kind of valuables you have in the house - and which rooms they're in. Then you go and tell your Facebook friends how much you're looking forward to going on holiday next Tuesday.
"I can go on to Google Street View and see actual photographs of your home. I can see if you have a burglar alarm, or whether there are any bushes in the garden to hide in. And I can see all the alleyways I can escape down. And, of course, I know you won't be at home.
"Burglars only burgle homes if they think they can get away with it. All of this information is likely to leave them feeling much more confident that they can," added Fraser.
Co-operative Insurance company revealed that 36 per cent of users regularly make use of them to broadcast their whereabouts when they are away from home.
"Once you accept a stranger into your Facebook account, they can begin what we call social -engineering - -delicately asking questions to build up information about you,' said Jason Hart, -senior vice -president of -CRYPTOCard Network Security.
"And that can cause havoc. Let's say they got your email address, then they could go to your email account pretending to be you and saying you have -forgotten your password.
"The account will then ask a security question - something like your favourite food or your first pet. Over the following weeks and months, it isn't hard for them to work -conversations round to subjects like that on Facebook.
"Once they have that secret -information, the email account will let them in. And once they are in there, they can find lots of sensitive information, such as your Amazon and eBay account history.
"They can then go to those sites pretending to be you and saying you have lost your passwords, and guess what happens then?
"Those sites send the passwords to your email account - the one that they have already conned their way into.
"Crooks who do this usually use the credit card details you have stored there to buy online gift vouchers that can be traded on the internet. It is a form of instant -currency.
"Even worse, if you have a PayPal account and have credit in it, your so-called friend could clean it out.
"Effectively, they have become an electronic version of you, they can change all your passwords and begin stealing from you.
"The message is simple: you wouldn't invite a perfect stranger into your house simply because they knocked on your door and said they wanted a look around. So why do it on Facebook?," Hart added. (ANI)