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Harry Potter star heads list of celeb tweeters at risk

Press release: 26/05/2010

  • Celebrities sharing personal information online that could leave them open to burglary or fraud include actor Tom Felton who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, DJ Calvin Harris, and presenter Fearne Cotton.
  • Nearly a third of internet users (29%) share more personal information about their lives now than they did a year ago.
  • LV= warns people not to share personal information online as it could put them at risk.

Actor Tom Felton tops the list of celebrities who share personal information online, as new research shows a surge in tweeters who freely reveal personal details that could put them at risk.

A top 10 of tweeters [1] who reveal too much has been compiled by home insurer LV=. The research shows that Tom Felton, DJ Calvin Harris and Fearne Cotton are among celebrities most commonly share personal information on social networking and microblogging sites, that could leave them open to crimes such as burglary, identity fraud and personal theft.

Across the UK, 60% of internet users now use social media sites such as Facebook [2] and Twitter. Nearly one in three (29%) admit that they now reveal more online about their personal lives than they would have done a year ago. Yet while the sharing of personal information is on the rise, awareness of the risks remains low. More than a third of web users (36%) do not lock their personal profiles on social media sites, potentially allowing strangers to access their personal information and ‘follow’ their movements.

Close to half of all social media users (46%) admit to freely sharing their date of birth online, while one in three have no qualms about publishing their email address (36%). One in ten will post their telephone number (10%) and one in eight (12%) will think nothing of uploading pictures of their home.

Commenting on the findings, Social media expert Olly Mann said: “Although sharing your phone number or a photo of your house online sounds innocuous, web criminals are very cunning. They can match this sort of information with other personal details they find, enabling them to build up a picture of who you are, where you live and more. They can then use this information to carry out online crimes such as credit card fraud or identity theft. It can even leave you open to burglary, if you have revealed enough information online for people to know where you live, and then ‘tweeted’ that you are not at home but out and about.”

Home insurer LV= commissioned experts to analyse the tweets of the ‘most followed’ British celebrities [3] for a month. Each celebrity was then assigned a ‘risk score’ based on the number of times they divulged their location or personal information when tweeting.

The full list of risky celebrity tweeters, starting with the most risky, is as follows:

  1. Tom Felton (TomFelton) - Actor
  2. Calvin Harris (calvinharris) - Musician
  3. Fearne Cotton (Fearnecotton) - Television presenter
  4. Davina McCall (ThisisDavina) - Television presenter
  5. Jonathan Ross (Wossy) - Television presenter
  6. Jimmy Carr (jimmycarr) - Comedian
  7. Jamie Oliver (jamie_oliver) - TV chef
  8. Aled Haydn Jones (ahj) - Radio producer
  9. Phillip Schofield (Schofe) - Television presenter
  10. Noush Skaugen (noushskaugen) - Singer/songwriter

The study showed that younger, high profile celebrities are more likely to be cavalier with their personal information online, reflecting the habits of the ‘internet generation’ who have grown up with new technology.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “The last few years have seen a dramatic change in the way we communicate. Paradoxically, although an increasing number of people share their personal information publicly, one of the biggest concerns we all have is for our privacy.

“We urge social media users to be more circumspect with their personal information. What might seem at the time to be an innocuous comment, could be just the detail a fraudster or burglar is looking for. Most of the major social media networks give users options on privacy and if in doubt they should be used.”

Olly Mann added: "The LV= research is a wake-up call for people who share personal information online without a second thought for who might be reading it. Most of us have the common sense to leave a light on when we leave the house, or double-lock the front door, but many celebs might just as well be holding up a big sign saying 'I'm not in, please burgle me’. You wouldn't stand in the middle of a pub and shout 'I've got £500 in cash in my handbag', but that's more or less exactly what some of these risky tweeters are doing."

For more information, log on to www.LV.com


Methodology

LV= analysed the tweets of the top 40 ‘most followed’ British celebrities, taken from the listed top 1,000 tweeters on twitterholic.com between 1 March and 1 April 2010. Each tweet was assigned a ‘risk point’ every time they divulged their location to create a risk score. The research was then reviewed by social media expert Olly Mann.

What the expert says - social media expert Olly Mann’s verdict on risky celebrity tweeters:

Lily Allen - tweets that she's on her way to an auction to buy a rug for her new house. She might as well say, 'I've got a lovely property full of expensive things and, by the way, I'm not in.'

Jonathan Ross
- tells us he's on a train with his wife and kids: to any criminal who might be amongst his half a million followers who knows where he lives, this is virtually a green-light to burgle their house whilst they're out for the day.

Tom Felton
- tweets are typical of the over-familiarity and misplaced comfort with which younger people interact with their social groups online. It's as if he's chatting only to close friends in a pub, showing utter naivety about the more sinister parties who might be studying his travel plans."

Jimmy Carr
- tweets a photo he took from his hotel bedroom window in Glasgow. With this information followers can calculate not just which hotel he is staying in, but also which room in the hotel he is occupying.

David Mitchell - tells us which supermarket he shops in - Sainsbury's in Kilburn. It's a passport for his fans to start stalking him.


The full list of the top 10 risky tweeters is as follows:

Celebrity

Profession

Risk Rating

Age

Riskiest tweet

Tom Felton
(TomFelton)

Actor

21

22

my travels for today...north london to brighton - lose phone/find phone -brighton to surrey- surrey to north london- north london to westend

Calvin Harris
(calvinharris)

Musician

16

26

That's me in New York now. Burger on the way. Bumped in to Florence on the plane, said she's going to come + party at Santos on Thursday!

Fearne cotton
(Fearnecotton)

Television presenter

13

28

Right, I'm back on Radio 1 at 10am then off for the first celebrity juice tonight woop!

Davina McCall
(ThisisDavina)

Television presenter

12

42

Well,what can I say? Thank you so much for all your support. I am in a bath, in a hotel in cornwall, kids all asleep. Matthew waiting, night x

Jonathan Ross
(Wossy)

Television presenter

11

49

Am on the train with Jane and the kids on the way to stoke on trent, Alton Towers has a new ride!

Jimmy Carr
(jimmycarr)

Comedian

10

37

I'm on a Glasgow-London sleeper train. It feels like the Primark Orient Express. There might not be a murder but someone might get glassed

Jamie Oliver
(jamie_oliver)

TV Chef

9

34

34

what beautiful spring day,gonna b roast lamb today.this week off 2 Australia cant wait 2c my buddy Toby puttock head chef of 15 Melbournejox

Aled Haydn Jones
(ahj)

Radio producer

8

34

Omgon the train to London. left debit card in a shop in Swansea, now have no cards to pay. I have a new cc but no pin yet.

Phillip Schofield
(Schofe)

Television presenter

7

48

Well this is GREAT. Stopped on the M25 in a massive queue, nowhere near home and I have to get up at 5.30 :(

Noush Skaugen
(noushskaugen)

Singer/Songwriter

7

Unknown

Sleepwalking through heathrow, looking forward to catching some zzz's and Mighty Boosh before landing in LA


[1] LV= monitored the top 40 British tweeters in the top 1000 twitter list (sourced from Tweetholic.com) over the period of 30 days (1st March – 1st April), assigning a risk score to all tweet
[2] According to Opinium data
[3] Tweetholic.com


LV=

LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs around 4,000 people, serves over 3.8m customers and members, and manages around £9.3bn on their behalf. We are also the UK's largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. www.LV.com