Brits are putting themselves at risk of identity theft by posting sensitive personal information on social networking sites, according to a poll for Tesco Personal Finance.
The OnePoll survey of 2000 British social networking site users shows 65% are worried about identity theft.
Yet more than half (57%) are happy to publish their date of birth on their personal pages, 56% disclose the name of their home town and 31% their employment details.
Compounding the risk, 18% claim that they allow their information to be seen by "everyone" - meaning it is accessible to anyone who uses the site. Almost three in ten have accepted "friend requests" from people that they do not actually know - giving the "friend" access to potentially sensitive personal information.
Even more worryingly, three out of five respondents have never changed their password, despite the fact this is recommended by social networking sites.
Michael Lynch, security expert, CPP, says: "The information that people are displaying on social networking sites is the very information that financial services organisations often request to verify identity. In the wrong hands, the information could easily be abused."
Last year research by US IT security firm Sophos found that four out of 10 users of online social networking site Facebook would readily divulge personal data over the network that could expose them to the risk of identity fraud.
Sophos set up a fictional account on Facebook and sent out 200 "friend requests" to users to observe how many people would respond and how much personal information they would divulge.
The firm found that 87 of the 200 Facebook users contacted responded to its request, with 82 (41%) leaking personal information such as phone numbers, date of birth and e-mail addresses to a complete stranger.