Identification Theft 101: Tricks to Shield In opposition to Identification Theft
What is identity theft?
Identity theft results in your personal and confidential information falling into the wrong hands and being used for purchases and all kinds of fraudulent activity without your permission.
The scary part is that most of us willingly make our personal information available online, and it’s easy for cyber criminals to steal. When you consider that we are all using technology and the internet these days, this can happen to anyone. On the other hand, with some basic knowledge, identity theft can be prevented, Planning and awareness.
How does identity theft come about?
A data breach occurs when someone gains unauthorized access to a company’s data. Some of the most common information stolen during such a breach are names, social security numbers, and credit card information. While it’s nearly impossible to completely protect information from data breach, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk.
You can surf the Internet safely by sticking to well-known websites, especially those with security certificates. The problem is you are entering your details on an unsecured or compromised website. In this case, you could give your information directly to a thief.
Fortunately, modern browsers usually warn us when we are trying to access risky websites.
Marketplaces on the Dark Web
Stolen information often ends up in the dark network. It’s a hidden network of websites that normal browsers can’t access. The stolen information is usually sold to someone else with potentially criminal intent.
The dark internet is a haven for scammers as they use special software when they visit to mask their identity and activities. Your information can then be accessed by anyone when they land on the dark web marketplace.
Malware is harmful software designed to inflict anarchy on a computer after it is installed. Cyber criminals can use it to steal your data or spy on your online activities.
Credit card theft
Credit card theft is one of the most common forms of identity theft. It usually happens through data breach, physical theft of your card, card skimmers, and also online retail accounts that store your card details online.
Phishing and spam attacks
Thieves usually get your personal information through electronic means of communication such as email, and most of the time that communication looks legitimate. The main goal of these emails is to get you to render your personal information.
For example, you might receive an email that looks like it came from your bank and there might be a link in that email that takes you to a fake website that looks exactly like your bank’s website. If you enter information like credit card information, social security number, or even a username and password on this website, it goes straight into the hands of thieves.
So if something doesn’t seem right about an email, delete it as it may have been an identity theft.
If you use your laptop or phone while connected to a public Wi-Fi network, such as a For example, at airports or in cafes, you must be careful when entering it, as hackers use these networks as well.
If you enter personal information such as your bank or credit card number on a public Wi-Fi network, a hacker on the same network can intercept it and you become a different statistic.
Criminals use skimming devices by putting them through a card reader at gas stations or ATMs without looking suspicious. As soon as a debit or credit card is stolen, the information on the magnetic stripe of the card is read and either saved or transmitted.
So while difficult to do so, try to make sure the device you are swiping on is safe. When handing your card over to someone for swiping, keep your eyes on your card.
Tips to protect against identity theft
It may seem almost impossible these days to completely protect your private information without risk, but there are ways you can protect yourself from falling victim to identity theft. Here are some key tips to help you stay safe online:
- Make sure to destroy all private bank statements with confidential information, especially those with bank and credit card details.
- Always carefully review your credit card statements before paying the bill to make sure you understand all of your purchases, merchants, and transaction locations.
- You can have a security stop or a fraud notification placed on your credit reporting account. The security freeze prevents anyone from accessing your credit report. However, companies you currently do business with who already have legitimate access to your report will keep their access. The freezing does not affect your credit score so everything is fine. The fraud notice is valid for 90 days and instructs a creditor to contact you first before issuing credit on your behalf in case someone else uses your credentials.
- Never let your credit card out of your sight. If you can’t see your card, it’s better to pay with cash. You don’t want your map to be scanned out of sight.
- Request that your name be removed from the call center hit lists by registering with the national Do-Not-Call registry. Also, turn off all subscriber lists, request credit cards, and reduce junk mail.
- Try to complicate your passwords as it is difficult to hack a complex password. Security researchers found that only 0.03% of 550 million passwords use spaces. They are valid characters and increase your password strength.
- Try to keep your antivirus software up to date. Always make sure that you are running the latest version on your devices.
When you look at all of these ways to steal personal information, you are almost deterred from getting online and protecting your information seems doomed. Fortunately, it’s not that bad at all. Stick to the basics like you mostly do anyway.
You don’t go around telling people your bank details or showing your credit card or bank statements to anyone who asks. Just do the same online. Be careful and careful of what you type online just like you are in real life.