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How could one check your credit card account using Facebook

Do not try this at home!

I’m sure that at least once in your lifetime you have called your bank asking about the balance of your credit card account. I’m also sure you remember (at least partially) the identity verification procedure, i. e. the questions the operator asks to make sure you are really the account owner. Well, with a bit of help from Facebook (and some hints from a search engine) plus an additional half hour of surfing your social network account, one could easily find the answers to most of those questions.

First one would need to know your name, date of birth and address. Most Facebook users employ their real name, so this one is easy. The same goes for the date of birth, probably except for the year – but one could easily find this out just by deducing it from your graduation year (which, again, shows up in most accounts). Your country and city are probably on your profile but the biggest challenge would be your street address. This could be discovered after scrutinizing the account for status, comments or other details about happenings in your neighborhood (“There’s a big fire at the mall X, two blocks away from my place.” plus a picture). Then one only needs to search in White Pages or a similar Web site.

Parents’ or pet’s name, phone number, e-mail address, some digits on your credit card, expiration date and its credit limit may raise some issues, but not necessarily insurmountable. Chances are the first two are already on your wall – your parents could appear in the “Family” list or in some pictures you posted, tagged or commented on, not to mention your other status updates (those around holidays spent with the family are best). Phone number and e-mail address are somewhere on the Internet too, so here a search engine could come in handy again, unless you disclosed them willingly in your profile.

If you think your credit card digits, expiration date and credit limit are difficult to discover, think again. One could examine the photos you’ve uploaded, search for those you took on vacation or in a resort, try to identify the hotel or hostel and then give you a call, impersonating someone from the staff and asking for these details because “there was a problem with your payment”. And if there are no vacation pictures, one could search for something you ordered on the Internet and you couldn’t help bragging about its recent delivery.

Then all one needs to do is to call your bank, answer the questions and… ta da!

Safe surfing and smart sharing everybody!

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About the author


With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples, messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.