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Americans! Stop tweeting pictures of your debit cards

July 02, 2012|By Matt Pearce
  • @NeedADebitCard retweets a couple times per day, suggesting a lack of basic privacy literacy for many Internet users.
@NeedADebitCard retweets a couple times per day, suggesting a lack of basic… (Twitter )

It’s with some regret and a lot of head-shaking that we must report that people are posting pictures of their debit cards to the Internet.

Just check out @NeedADebitCard, a Twitter account that retweets users posting photos of their debit cards — numbers and all.

“My debit card came in the mail today!” one over-sharer tweets.

“Just found my credit card :) haha” tweeted another pre-theft victim.

“Got my debit card <3” tweeted a user whose name, card number and expiration date were visible in the ensuing photograph.

People. Really.

@NeedADebitCard had just 2,704 followers at last glance — that’s probably for the best — and no identifying contact information other than a bio line stating, “Please quit posting pictures of your debit cards, people.” A tweet seeking comment was not immediately returned.

The account hasn’t tweeted anything original; instead, there are roughly a couple of retweets of other users per day, suggesting a serious dearth of basic privacy literacy among many Internet users.

@NeedADebitCard falls in line with privacy-shaming sites such as  PleaseRobMe.com, a privacy awareness site that aggregated and streamed  FourSquare check-ins of people posting when they were away from home. (Please Rob Me now appears to require you to fill in your handle to see whether you’ve posted anything embarrassing, taking away the public-shaming element.)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, 8.6 million American households experienced identity theft in 2010, with unauthorized credit card use accounting for much of the increase from the 6.4 million households victimized in 2005. Families lost a total of $13.3 billion, with an average of $2,200 lost per household affected.

A 2011 report from Javelin Strategy & Research cited by the Wall Street Journal said social media and smartphone use accounted for recent increases in identity theft. 

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nation@latimes.com

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