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This paper explores the vulnerability of social network users to identity theft when they share personal identification information online. The sharing of details like age, sex, address and other personal information like photographs can assist in establishing an identity. Identity criminals exploit social network users and the weaknesses of social networking sites to gather the information needed to commit identity theft and identity fraud using this identification information. While there are mechanisms that can reduce the incidence of this crime, information sharing on social networks is voluntary, which, makes its control difficult. This paper presents an exploration of existing literature from Australia, the United States and United Kingdom and highlights the importance of the relationship between social networking and identity crime. The drivers to sharing information on these platforms are considered. The paper provides opportunities to improve the understanding of the relationship between personal information and the crime. A difficulty in having preventative mechanisms in place is that social networking sites have a vested interest in promoting rather than preventing the sharing of information. Further, identity crime is pervasive which, makes the amelioration of risks difficult. In conclusion, efforts have been made in this paper to outline arguments that will assist in resolving the crime given vulnerability of social network users to identity theft.
This document has been peer reviewed.