Press release -

CPP calls on people to separate personal information from online accounts

In the study from security expert, Jason Hart, which was commissioned by CPP, details including the name of the user’s first school (64%), employer (46%), dates of birth (25%), children’s names (25%) and favourite football team (17%) were found to be visible on many people’s Facebook profiles.

As the most active social media users, those aged 18 to 24 with a Facebook account are the most likely to publicise their personal information – and often to complete strangers. This age group has on average more than 250 friends but 81% say they do not trust all of their Facebook ‘friends’. Half (50%) have accepted a friend request from a total stranger and 9% would accept an invitation from someone they did not know if they were good looking or popular.

Users of all ages are putting themselves at risk of identity theft, one third (33%) of all those with a Facebook account admit to accepting an invitation from people they had never met before, with 38% confessing they don’t know everyone they are friends with on the site.

Over half of the Facebook account holders questioned had received friendship requests from strangers. And despite recent media controversy around privacy and security on the site, one in twenty (6%) users allow anyone and everyone to see their entire profile which potentially puts them at increased risk of identity fraud.

Danny Harrison, CPP’s Identity fraud specialist is calling on individuals to not use personal information for online passwords or security questions.

“It isn’t a good idea to use personal information for passwords online. Sharing is the whole point of Facebook and other social media sites, so users are naturally going to promote their personal information online. The problem is this information could be used by fraudsters to reset passwords and access people’s online accounts. To compound the problem, there are tools available online that can capture keywords from a website, including a Facebook profile, and others which will trial variations of the identified keywords until a password match is found.”

Personal information most commonly used as passwords:

  • Interests
  • Hobby
  • Favourite football team
  • Favourite football player
  • Children’s names
  • First school
  • Pet’s name
  • Dates of Birth
  • The user’s name
  • Maiden name

CPP’s top tips on protecting your personal data on social networking sites:

  • Set a unique password for every website: Always create a unique password for each website you use
  • Personal information: Ensure that you are not posting any personal information on Facebook  that can be used against  you,  for example date of birth,  mother’s maiden name or your email address
  • Enforce two-factor authentications:  A number of web based applications and social networking sites now provide users with the ability remove the need for static passwords and allow them to enable two-factor authentication - removing the risks of your password being compromised
  • Privacy settings on your social network profiles: Review the privacy settings on your social networks to ensure they meet your expectations. Social networks in general initially set privacy settings to defaults that allow anyone to view your information
  • Don’t use personal information to verify your online identity: If possible utilise other information or codes to construct a password, and consider using false information when asked to create a security question and answer


  • Science, technology


  • identity fraud
  • identity theft
  • identity theft insurance
  • identity theft protection

About CPPGroup Plc

CPPGroup Plc is a global Life Assistance company who provide products and services designed to simplify the complexities of everyday living whether these affect personal finances, home, travel, personal data or future plans. When it really matters, Life Assistance enables people to live life and worry less.

CPP’s online product portfolio includes:

Established in 1980, CPP has over 11 million customers and more than 200 business partners across Europe, North America and Asia and employs 2,300 employees who handle millions of sales and service conversations each year.

Media Contacts

For more information, to trail the app, or to arrange a time for interview with CPP’s Danny Harrison please call Band & Brown Communications:

  • Beth Milsom – 0203 451 9428 / 07838 163 369
  • Bryony Partridge - 0203 451 9406 / 07846 004 416
  • Elisse Ahmet - 0203 451 9446 / 07926 341 557