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Instagram pet pictures are putting milennials at risk of fraud, bank warns

Lizzie Roberts
Taylor Swift regularly shares pictures online with her pet cats. - SUPPLIED BY XPOSUREPHOTOS.COM

Posting pictures of pets on Instagram is putting millennials at risk of fraud, a major bank has said as it warned young people against copying celebrities bad online habits.

Santander has said the celebrity trend of oversharing personal information on social media, such as the name of a pet or your birthday, can increase the risk of identity fraud as people often use these details for passwords.

Research by the bank found one third of under 25s have copied celebrity posts and 87 percent admitted sharing personal information on social media.

While one in ten confessed they had both shared the name of a pet on Instagram and used it as a password.

The bank warned celebrities are setting a bad example by posting intimate details online, such as their birthday, the birthdays of partners and the names of pets, which could be used by fraudsters.

American singer Taylor Swift regularly posts on Instagram about her three cats; Meredith, Olivia and Benjamin. 

While Kylie Jenner shares so much about her two dogs, Norman and Bambi, they now have their own account with nearly half a million followers. 

Earlier this year, soap actor Dean Gaffney, was criticised after revealing his bank details to his nearly 65,000 Instagram followers, when he posted a picture where the card number and expiry date were clearly visible. 

The actor only removed the post after fans commented alerting him to his faux pas. 

A survey of 2,000 people by One Poll, commissioned by Santander, found 40 percent of under 25s are influenced by what celebrities post online, while 78 percent confess to not knowing how to protect themselves from identity theft.

The results come amid increasing numbers of you people falling victim to online conmen, with the fraud prevention charity CIFAS reporting a 26 percent rise in cases for under 21-year-olds in 2018.

Jodie Cook, a social media expert, said: “It’s worrying to see influential celebrities share so many personal details online. 

“Sharing names of family members and revealing your date of birth is risky and is turning people’s social media profiles into a fraudster’s paradise.” 

Ms Cook’s top tips for avoiding online fraud are; do not reveal your date of birth, do not overshare the name of your pets, avoid giving away family details like your middle name or mother’s maiden name, do not disclose private memories such as where you were born, and when posting photos online make sure no sensitive documents are in sight. 

Chris Ainsley, head of fraud strategy at Santander, added: “Make sure you get the balance right and don’t give fraudsters an easy ride. Check your privacy settings are on, stay vigilant and consider what you’re giving away before hitting post.”