ID expert: ‘Lie to protect your data’

gloves mini nA cyber crime expert is risking the wrath of the data industry after urging online users to lie about their personal details – such as date of birth – in order to protect themselves from identity theft.
Dr Ian Ferguson, a cyber crime expert at the University of Abertay in Scotland, warned that Internet users give out information too freely and leave themselves open to crime.
However, if adopted by consumers on a wide-scale basis, this false information could wreak havoc in the data industry, as details such as date of birth are crucial in targeting and demographic profile products, as well as in ID verification.
He said there is no reason why someone should give their real date of birth, or mother’s maiden name for accounts such as eBay or Amazon. He also advised making up false details on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Dr Ian Ferguson said: “People think: ‘I’m being asked and I should tell the truth.’ But they don’t know the way the information is being used and it’s the kind of data that can be relatively easy to find out if someone wanted to commit identity fraud.
“Giving a false birthday is a relatively easy way to make yourself ID fraud proof. I’m sure some online banks have never checked if you have entered your actual birth date.”
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