This is a gem: Are Brits too polite for their own good?

Ok firstly watch the video:

It’s from The People’s ID Bot Project who set out to see if they could convince five strangers they were old friends… just using information anyone could find online.

It’s pretty damn funny, and I had a read of the comments and agreed with them all.

For those that can’t access the video at work, in a nutshell the scenario is a social experiment aimed at demonstrating the importance of protecting our personal information has touched a nerve among viewers, who think it may be their particular British predisposition for politeness that makes them even more susceptible to a con.

The People’s ID Bot Project from Experian is on a mission to raise awareness of just how open we leave ourselves to identity fraud. One Saturday in a south London bar, they set out to convince five perfect strangers they were old friends, using only the personal information that is freely available about them online. The findings from the ‘Strangers in a Bar’ video are quite revealing:

What’s more surprising is people’s reaction to the video, and what they believe it says about our inclination to give others the benefit of the doubt rather than risk offending them. “Isn’t that so British, though?” says Annette, commenting on the People’s ID Bot Facebook page: “I don’t remember you, but it would be rude to admit that, so I’ll pretend I do…and give you my number!”

Not only did ‘Strangers in a Bar’ prove how important it is to remain vigilant about our personal information. But the debate that’s brewing on Facebook raises the question: does quintessential British politeness leave us more open to identity fraud? As George warns in another Facebook comment: “The problem with us Brits is that we can suspect someone’s a fraudster and still let them get away with it!”

In an age where *friends* are instantly acquired, interests easily ‘shared’ and information about us readily available, how do we really know who to trust?

For more research from the People’s ID Bot Project and tips on how to manage and protect your personal information online, go to:

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