I received a request today from my financial institution asking me to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
Aside from the fact that I doubt that their updates on these various services will enrich my life, there is another very good reason not to follow them:
It’s easy to trace your connections online. Most of this information, for most users, is public. If you follow Bank A, it stands to reason that you have an account at Bank A–something a malicious person would not have known before. Even if your online persona isn’t directly connected to your name, you might be surprised at how easy it is to connect the two with a Google search.
- Want to know 9000 people with Citibank accounts? Check http://www.facebook.com/citibank
- Want to know 6000 people with Wells Fargo accounts? Check http://twitter.com/#!/Ask_WellsFargo/followers
- Want to know 5 people with Bank of American accounts? Check http://www.youtube.com/user/bankofamerica/
(That last item says a lot, I think.)
Any bank that suggests you follow them on social media must be pretty confident of their security! Or, more likely, their marketing teams and their security teams don’t talk to each other.
You wouldn’t stand on a street-corner handing out cards that say, “My name is Bob Billiards and I have an account at Bank A” would you? Then don’t follow your bank on a social media site.