Iain Wood used freely shared info such as birthdays, maiden names of mothers and other personal details from his neighbor’s Facebook and UK social network to bypass security questions on bank account websites which scored him 57k.
Wood — who reportedly had a gambling habit that needed financing — friended the cohabitants of his apartment complex on Facebook and Friends Reunited. Equipped with the real identities Facebook and other social networks are so insistent upon, Wood tried out the names on a variety of online banking sites. When Wood got a hit, he took a ride through the “forgot your password?” links, using the info he collected from his “friends” to bypass security questions (such as “what is your mother’s maiden name?).
Sticking to mostly dormant bank accounts, Wood requested a new banking card, which he then intercepted in the mail. He then used the bank cards to make cash withdrawals, even taking advantage of overdraft protection on empty accounts before anyone caught on.
Any security expert will tell you we are a people largely given to ignoring (but still complaining about) our privacy settings, friending anyone on Facebook who asks, and we are notoriously unimaginative with our passwords. You can guard against not-so-clever scams that take advantage of your Facebook information by taking some simple precautions such as not making your date of birth public, and only friending people you truly know.