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‘Do the grandma test’, accountants told


Accountants have been urged to review their public information on social media sites to prevent the risk of identity theft, as figures show that over 50 per cent of Australians have posted their birthday and residential addresses online.

By Jotham Lian 12 minute read

QSR International regional sales manager Tom Mason said the use of social media sites including professional networking site LinkedIn, posed risks to accountants who unwittingly shared personal and private information that could be manipulated.

“Interestingly, 57 per cent of people post their date of birth online,” Mr Mason said.

“When you sign up for LinkedIn, one of the questions ask you what is your date of birth, and they do it for two reasons, one for age verification, the second reason is to allow you to do a password reset.


“What LinkedIn didn't tell you is that if you haven't actually gone into your security settings, you'll actually see that your date of birth is publicly available for people who you are connected with,” he added.

“You're now a victim of identity theft. All I need to do an identity theft is a person's name, address and their date of birth.”

A recent report by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) revealed a 15 per cent increase in major cyber security incidences over the past financial year, bringing the number up to 47,000.

Mr Mason believes it is not too late for accountants to review their information online and security protocols.

Accountants should start searching for their name in quotation marks on Google before adding their city, company name, and email addresses to ensure they are aware of the amount of information on the web, according to Mr Mason.

Once they are aware of any unwanted information about themselves, they can then proceed to clear it up.

“There are two rules: never ever tell them everything that you know; think before you post — what you share is there forever,” said Mr Mason.

Mr Mason also believes that by searching for themselves online, accountants will be able to track any unsavoury information they may have posted in the past and act to remove them accordingly.

“I would solicit doing the nonna test, if it's going to affect or upset your nonna, don’t post it online,” he said.

Jotham Lian

Jotham Lian


Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.

Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.

You can email Jotham at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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