Emma Chalmers Courier Mail

* Facebook 'tool to phish phone numbers'
* Police cracking down on such tactics
* MP says he personally doesn't do it

A QUEENSLAND MP has talked up the potential of Facebook to harvest voters' phone numbers - the same tactic criminals use to set up fake credit card accounts.

Federal Liberal MP Andrew Laming told a parliamentary seminar discussing the "Twitter election" that politicians could use the social networking site Facebook as a powerful tool to phish phone numbers.

His comments on Wednesday came at the same time police were warning federal politicians that criminals were using Facebook to harvest personal details of teenagers and set up fake credit card accounts.

The Courier-Mail revealed yesterday that the head of Queensland's fraud unit told a parliamentary hearing young people were making themselves vulnerable to fraud by posting too much personal information on the net.

"There is a lack of appreciation of the dark side of the internet," Detective Superintendent Brian Hay told Wednesday's hearing.

Dr Laming told a separate seminar at Parliament House Facebook was a "monumentally powerful tool".

"There is extraordinary capacity there to create non-political pages and harvest and phish huge numbers of not only emails but mobile phone numbers," he said.

"And once you have a mobile phone number . . . they don't have to follow me, I phish them and can sort of harvest huge numbers of mobile phone numbers and then I just drop them onto a single piece of software and I can SMS hundreds if not thousands of people directly when I choose."

Last night Dr Laming told The Courier-Mail he did not use such tactics and it was unlikely other MPs would have the manpower to do it.

Full article here