Why you shouldn’t wish people “Happy Birthday” on Facebook

Wishing a happy birthday on Facebook could get your account hacked and your private information stolen, a new survey has found.

When combined with other information gleaned from Facebook posts, the annual birthday wishes could give scammers enough details to steal sensitive data.

A survey by Nationwide of people aged 16-25 found that 83 per cent said their friends “overshared” online, including information like their relationship status, health and political beliefs, and holiday updates. Up to 56 per cent of respondents said friends also share their current location on Facebook.

These types of revealing posts are a goldmine for hackers and can even put homes at risk of burglary.

“Social media is a great way for people to connect with friends or family, but it’s important to think about the information you are sharing with others, so it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands,” said Stuart Skinner, director of fraud at Nationwide.

He continued: “Wishing someone a happy birthday or sharing your location may seem innocent enough, but fraudsters can piece together information from various places, collecting enough to defraud people.

“To protect yourself, check privacy settings so only vetted friends can see updates, don’t give away too much information or anything you wouldn’t want a fraudster to see, have a strong password that doesn’t use any of your personal information and stop and think before sharing.”

Article created in partnership with Over60