“Sharenting” – where parents share information with staff about their children on social networks – is the “weakest link” in risk of online fraud and identity theft, warns Barclays.
The bank says that the parents are compromising their children’s future financial security with a lot to share online.
Barclays forecasts to 2030 could cost almost £670m in online fraud.
The bank security specialists say that social media means the identity fraud “has never been more easy.”
Barclays is warning that parents could be “lulled into a false sense of security” and do not realize that their children are doing “the fraud targets” in the future, by publishing so much personal information that will remain online.
Parents are told that the information in social media is capable of being misused to hack passwords or identity fraud scams.
The bank says that parents can reveal names, ages and dates of birth of birthday messages, home address, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, the schools, the names of pets, sports teams they support and photographs.
Barclays warns that such details, which will still be available when young people are adults, it could be used for fraudulent loans or credit card transactions or online shopping scams.
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The bank is forecasting that “sharenting” represent two-thirds of identity fraud faced by young people at the end of the next decade and will have a cost of £667m a year.
“Another decade of the parents on the exchange of personal information online” will produce 7.4 million cases a year of identity fraud in the year 2030, says Barclays.
The bank is urging parents to control their online privacy settings and make sure that they know what information is available about their children.
“Through social media, it has never been easier for scammers to gather the key pieces of information needed to steal someone’s identity,” said Jodie Gilbert, head of digital security for Barclays.
“It is vital to think before you post, and to carry out periodic audits of their accounts of social networks to prevent the information falling into the wrong hands,” he said.