Networking sites targeted over fraud

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The Independent Online

Bank account data and other personal details are on sale on the internet for as little as £5, and fraudsters are targeting social networking sites to glean information about potential victims, says a report into online crime from web-security firm Symantec.

Criminal gangs now favour the likes of Facebook and MySpace, instead of online banking, as their users are not being careful with personal details. For example, visitors to networking sites may post their dates of birth and mothers' maiden names – data that can then be used to bypass bank security and obtain account numbers.

Customer data is sold via instant-message or internet forums that are live for only a few days or even hours.

Credit card details are often sold in "bulk buy" bundles. In the first half of 2007, investigators found 50 card numbers on sale for £20, the equivalent of 40p each, and 500 numbers for £100, or 20p each.

Full identities were the third most common item advertised for sale, making up 9 per cent of all available goods.