Britain is a nation of digital oversharers

October 22nd 2018

New research produced for this year’s Get Safe Online Week – which starts today – has revealed that the nation is sleepwalking towards fraud with the problem being so severe that 21 people are targeted every minute as a result of unwittingly ‘oversharing’ on social media.

  • Brits are unaware of privacy invasion risks associated with oversharing, as almost half the nation (46%) have fallen victim to some form of fraudulent behaviour on social media platforms    
  • Alarmingly, almost half (49%) don’t perceive posts associated with revealing or nude photos as oversharing
  • Brits are so oblivious that of those who have been defrauded, a quarter (26%) didn’t realise they’d been targeted and one in five (22%) did nothing about it.
  • Get Safe Online has teamed up with an army of influencers for Get Safe Online Week including James McVey, Alice Judge-Talbot and Matthew Wright to show how important it is to be aware of what you share

Despite half the nation falling victim to fraud due to oversharing, a quarter (26%) didn’t realise they’d been targeted and one in five (22%) did nothing about it.

It seems part of the issue is that Brits are unclear as to what constitutes oversharing online and the associated dangers, which include identity fraud, theft and privacy invasion. To help tackle the issue, the online safety experts have teamed up with an army of influencers including James McVey, Mark Ferris and Matthew Wright who will share their personal oversharing experiences on Instagram with #beawareofwhatyoushare whilst asking followers to join the movement and do the same.

The data also revealed that we are a nation all about ‘validation’ as a quarter (23%) of those surveyed stated they use social media to show off about their holidays, one in five (20%) use it to let connections know about life milestones such as buying a house and one in ten (11%) use their profiles to brag about their newest purchases or to project a fantasy version of themselves.

Whilst it might be deemed as harmless, a simple location check-in alerts people to an unoccupied home and repeated location-sharing could encourage predatory behaviour, as half the nation (46%) admit to new followers or follow requests from social media strangers.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, says: “People are increasingly oversharing on social media and apps without thinking about the consequences, which is why this Get Safe Online Week, we’re reminding you that you don’t always have to give everything about yourself away on social media or your apps.  Seemingly harmless posts, photos and details in your profile could actually leave your privacy exposed. An innocent location check-in or a photo of your new driving licence for example could be invaluable to criminals, who are expert at putting together snippets about you to build a bigger picture with a view to defrauding you or stealing your identity.

“Think through not just what you’re sharing but who you’re sharing it with.  For instance, if you have an open social media account, you’re sharing with the whole world, not just with the people in your own groups. Even if it’s set to private, you can’t be sure it hasn’t been passed on.

“For your own privacy and safety’s sake, some things are better kept offline or private, so always be aware of what you share.”

Top 5 risks

  1. Different social media channels might require different levels of privacy. For example, depending on your profile and posts, Facebook could be set to ‘private’, whereas what we share on Twitter or Instagram tend to be more suitable for all to see
  2. When you enter your details to a website or app, be aware of the terms and conditions about using and sharing your data, and even then be careful what you’re agreeing to others – including the website or app owner – knowing about you or your account
  3. Posting and sharing photos when you’re away on holiday or business could be signalling that your home is empty. Remember that today’s burglars are as social media savvy as you are
  4. Turn off location services in app settings on your and your kids’ mobile devices: that’s social media apps, cameras and any others that might reveal location. This isn’t just about privacy, but also your and your family’s personal safety
  5. Think twice about posts and photos you’re sharing. Driving licences, passports, some letters and other documents contain sensitive information that are needed to prove your ID

To find out more on how to take better precautions, please visit or @GetSafeOnline on Twitter. Or, join the social movement and post your #beawareofwhatyoushare image to help raise awareness.


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