Which? report: Social media platforms failing to clamp down on identity fraud

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Social media platforms are failing to clamp down on scammers selling people's personal data, according to a Which? Money investigation.

The consumer champion discovered 50 scam profiles, pages, and groups across Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), and Instagram conducting criminal activity.

This included advertising stolen identities, credit card details, compromised Netflix (NFLX) and Uber Eats (UBER) accounts, and fake passports made to order.

Which? said the report highlighted how "lax" preventative measures were on these platforms and how easily they could be exploited by criminals looking to take advantage of the novel coronavirus pandemic. To date there have been £2m ($2.5m) in coronavirus-related scams in the UK alone.

In one Facebook group investigators found details of a man in Yorkshire including his name, date of birth, address, mobile number, credit card number, CVV number, expiry date, and the sort code and name of his bank.

They also found a fraudster on Twitter offering full credit card details of someone with a “£13k+ balance” for £100, or three sets of card details for £200.

In addition, Which? found Instagram users sharing “fraud bibles” explaining how novice hackers could create fake identities and use stolen card details.

“It’s astonishing that social media sites make it so easy for criminals to trade people’s personal and financial information, particularly as fraud is such a prevalent crime that can have devastating consequences,” said Jenny Ross, Which? Money editor.

“Social media firms must take much stronger action to prevent their sites becoming a safe haven for scammers, and should work with the financial industry and police to address serious flaws with their platforms.”

Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said fraudulent activity was not tolerated on its platforms, and it had removed the groups and profiles flagged to it by Which? Money.

"We continue to invest in people and technology to identify and remove fraudulent content, and we urge people to report any suspicious content to us so we can take action,” it added.

Meanwhile, Twitter said it was against their rules to use scam tactics on their platform to obtain money or private financial information.

"Where we identify violations of our rules, we take robust enforcement action. We’re constantly adapting to bad actors’ evolving methods, and will continue to iterate and improve upon our policies as the industry evolves,” a spokesperson said.