If you’re ever feeling the need to take a picture of your debit card and post it on social media just … don’t. It doesn’t take that much information to make fraudulent purchases online with a debit card account, or clone a physical copy of a debit card, and giving all those potentially listening in on your social media account a free look isn’t wise.
To hammer that point home, there’s a Twitter account dispensing vigilante Internet justice to those who would post pictures of their debit cards online.
The account, @NeedADebitCard, has a simple credo: “Please quit posting pictures of your debit cards, people.”
It regularly fishes the vast streams of the world’s Twitter feeds, finding and retweeting pictures people inexplicably post bragging about their new personalized debit card, or letting everyone know that they have a debit card but no money (sad face, money emoji, praying hands emoji, inexplicable happy face). The message is clear: I see the picture you posted of your debit card, and so did the rest of the Internet, so you might want to cancel it.
So could the pictures broadcast to NeedADebitCard’s more than 15,000 followers actually be enough to rip someone off?
“No, it probably wouldn’t be,” says John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud at the National Consumers League.
Whether or not you could make an illegal online purchase using the information, “depends on the card you have. If it’s an American Express card, you can get the CID number off the front of it, which is a security code. I could see how potentially you could use it to make a fraudulent purchase.”
To clone your card and commit debit card fraud, a thief would probably need more to go on, Breyault says.
“As far as using it to make a counterfeit card that you could swipe through a point-of-sale system, probably not because there’s an additional layer of security built inside the mag stripe that isn’t necessarily included in the card number that you see on the front of the card,” he says. “But certainly the front of the card would give you a good start.”
Still, Breyault says, people need to be cognizant that their social media accounts may have a bigger — and sketchier — following than they think.
“Definitely on Twitter, which is fairly public unless you set your profile to private — anyone with an Internet connection can see what you’re putting on Twitter,” Breyault says. “I wouldn’t actually say that Facebook is all that private. There are certainly settings that people can turn on, but it’s still a very public site.”
Most people would probably know better than to share a picture of their debit card with the world. But sharing other information that’s not quite as obviously sensitive can also leave you open to fraud.
“I wouldn’t share any kind of sensitive personal information,” Breyault say. “Be very wary about sharing things like your date of birth over social media, for example.”
But the instantaneous and often impulsive nature of social media interaction means it’s almost an inevitability that social media users, especially teens, will continue to provide plenty of fodder for @NeedADebitCard. Just try to make sure it’s not you.
“It’s easy to overshare in a world where you can do so with the press of a button from your phone,” Breyault says. “Be very wary about what you are sharing and how much you’re sharing.”
What do you think? Have you ever seen anyone overshare on social media when it comes to financial information?please add your thoughts now! }