Many people overlook the danger of the media sharing fad when it comes to their credit cards as posting photos of their actual credit cards on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (among other social networking sites) is the new popular pastime.
Credit cards have become so engrained in society that most people don’t think twice about them. Unfortunately for consumers, this is precisely what credit and identity thieves are banking on as they have taken to trolling social networking sites to find posted images of credit cards and credit card numbers. Whether you share your credit card because of the cute animal or innovative design featured on the front or you want to share in the laughter about your misspelled name, this practice is becoming more and more common these days.
This is precisely why twitter feeds like @NeedADebitCard exist. This feed re-posts actual pictures that Twitter users post in order to create awareness about the abundance of these posts and the danger associated with it. Their goal is to address the foolishness and irresponsibility behind this very simple action, which is apparent in the equally simple statement posted on the account’s home page: PLEASE QUIT POSTING PICTURES OF YOUR DEBIT CARDS, PEOPLE. Obviously, “debit cards” is all-inclusive of both debit and credit cards.
Unfortunately, many Twitter account holders ignore the warning and post pictures with captions discussing how they shared their credit card with a lover or bragging about their new credit card photo. The good news is that most of the links listed above, which are examples of actual Twitter accounts, have been removed so that if you try to get a closer link at the posts you will find a “Page Not Found” or “Removed by User” prompt. Hopefully these are posts that show an intelligent user who has realized the error of their ways and not one who had to learn the hard way…
For most people, it should seem quite obvious that this is a really bad idea but the sheer volume of posts categorized in this way is alarming. Experts emphasize that it does not matter how sneaky you think you are at hiding your personal information, by providing thieves with anything that could help them acquire your credit information you are putting yourself at risk.
As a matter of fact, this behavior is so common, PC Magazine’s Security Watchblog actually published a report in which Brian McGinley, Senior VP of data risk management for Identity Theft 911 said,
Something so blatantly obvious as posting your credit or debit card number just speaks to the lack of awareness of what consumers think criminals can do with a set of numbers.
Even if you are hiding some of the digits or part of your name, the best identity thieves can figure out the rest. For example, many online shopping sites do not require the security code (the three digits on the back of the card) in order to finalize a purchase so if you take a picture with part of your name and part of your credit card number, you may find several unauthorized purchases at one such site.
Another reason you should be wary of such behavior is that thieves not only pay attention to what kind of pictures you post, but also your status updates. Mention that you are going on vacation, for example, and you might become a target of one of the most common credit card frauds: you check into your hotel and get up to your room only to receive a phone call asking you to confirm your credit number for the hotel’s record.
Obviously, this will seem normal so you concede and then discover later that it was actually not the hotel’s front desk. By simply knowing part of your credit card information and that you were going on vacation, thieves can fill in the blanks.