real life

The hidden dangers of selfies that you need to know about.

We’ve all done it. We’re at the airport, waiting to depart, and we can’t help but post a smug little photo of our airline tickets. Or we’ve just won $20 on a instant Scratchie and really need to tell our 500-plus Facebook friends all about it.

And we’ve all ‘grammed at least one photo of ourselves making the peace sign (#livingthedream).

We’re an oversharing generation, but what we don’t always realise is that by posting this kind of information online, we’re putting our identity and our financial security at risk.

Careful with those fingers, Kendall. (Getty)

According to Nick FitzGerald, a Senior Research Fellow at ESET, new research out of Japan has found that by posting a photo with your fingerprint visible, you could potentially put yourself at risk for fingerprint fraud in the near future.

"Because of the increasing use of this technology and fingerprints being easily accessible, there is a higher risk of fingerprint fraud being used to access private information," he says.

FitzGerald added that fingerprint fraudsters only need a "good enough" image of your fingerprint to use it for faking prints.

hidden dangers of selfies
“Fraudsters often look for small pieces of information about a person online." Image via iStock.

And when you think about how quickly fingerprint technology is being introduced into our daily lives through our iPhones, this is a scary concept.

But fingerprints aren't the only thing you need to worry about. Some of the photos you've taken today could immediately put you at risk.

“Fraudsters often look for small pieces of information about a person online that they can use to form a complete identity. This allows them to easily gain access to things like social media accounts and emails, as well as open credit cards and even obtain a drivers licence in another person’s name," FitzGerald explained.

In 2015 a woman named "Chantelle" posted a selfie with her winning Melbourne Cup ticket on Facebook, and her $825 in winnings were stolen within 15 minutes.

hidden dangers of selfies
Chantelle's $825 winnings were stolen. Image via Facebook.

The photo, captioned "Winner winner chicken dinner", only showed part of the bar code, but the fraudsters were able to piece it together and claim the winnings in the time between when she posted the photo on Facebook and presented the ticket at the TAB.

The scariest part is, Chantelle posted the photo to her private Facebook page.

"To the low-life who is obviously my friend on Facebook and used my photo to claim our winnings. You're a massive dick. You ruined my day," she later posted to Facebook.

"I might need a bit of a Facebook cull now," she added.

BONUS: The Year We Filmed Everything on Mamamia Out Loud. 

To avoid identity theft, FitzGerald recommends not using social media to post unadulterated images of your fingers or fingerprints, passport or national identity cards, airline tickets, credit and bank cards, loyalty cards or even a winning lottery ticket.

“Other important factors in preventing identity theft on social media include: changing passwords regularly, using passphrases, limiting visible contact information and turning on the ‘approve tags’ option,” he added.

It seems simple enough, but how many times have you posted a photo on social media and not given it a second thought?

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