People can’t resist sharing photos of their beloved pets on social networks,but most probably don’t understand how dangerous such a simple — and seeminglyharmless — act can be. A pet photo can provide fraudsters and identity thieveswith very valuable information.

What sensitive details could a criminal possibly glean from a pet photo, youask? For starters, there’s the geolocation data that your smartphone embeds inthe pictures you take by default. It’s a fairly simple task to sniff out GPScoordinates from EXIF (Exchangeable image file format) data.

Other information might be even easier to find. Your physical address andphone number, for example, which owners frequently have emblazoned on theirpets’ tags. What’s meant to reunite lost pets with their owners can easily bemisused by someone with a modest amount of skill.

You wouldn’t walk around telling complete strangers your phone number oraddress, yet that’s what posting a photo with a standard pet tag amounts to.It’s also far too common. Dell Cameron of the tech blog Gizmodo noted that aquick scroll through his Twitter feed turned up at least three offendingimages.

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