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Tweeting your banking identity

By David McMillin · Bankrate.com
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

While many account holders work feverishly to safeguard their confidential banking information, a few customers are making identity theft easier than ever before.

A recent article from Matt Pearce at the Los Angeles Times highlights a Twitter handle that exposes users who post images of their debit cards. Yes, you read that correctly. They freely upload pictures of cards that link to their checking accounts for their friends and potential thieves to see. The account is @NeedADebitCard, and the user's account bio is fairly straightforward: "Please quit posting pictures of your debit card, people."

From bragging about a Hello Kitty-branded card to voicing frustration over a misspelled name on a card, it seems that debit card holders find quite the range of reasons to share their confidential banking information.

Now, I'm guessing that the majority of readers would never make this misstep. However, the news should serve as a reminder that there are simply some pieces of information that are not meant to be shared. In an era marked by status updates and online photos, that seems to be all too easily forgotten.

Even if you aren't making your debit card readily available to the online world, a study from Javelin Strategy & Research earlier this year shows that online profiles may be fueling financial fraud. The study shows that plenty of social media users are willing to make their birthdays, phone numbers and high school names publicly available. Why should that raise a red flag? That information answers some of the most common identity verification questions asked by companies.

Your personal finance information is for your eyes only. From debit cards to ATM PINs to checking accounts, do everything in your power to prevent these numbers from falling under the wrong eyes.

Have you ever shared any financial information that should have been kept private? Could your online profiles make it easier to steal your identity?

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