Online Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime rate in America!
You would be surprised to know that almost 12 million fell victim to online identity theft every year and the average financial loss per identity theft is almost $5000.
The numbers show that your personal information is nothing less than Goldmines for a cybercriminal. Cybercriminals will steal your information and then sell it to make money.
Identity theft can really be bothersome and stressful when your personal information is leaked and you start receiving calls from salespeople.
Identity theft is not limited to that. If you are visiting an unsecured website, let’s just say a torrent website like the pirate bay; your personal information might be exposed to the cyber-criminal. They might get hold of your mail ID and might misuse it online.
There have been cases where people were arrested and have been thrown into prison for days because criminals used their IDs for fraudulent activities.
In case you have not been paying attention to your online activity, it is high time you start doing so.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a kind of scam, deception, or crime that results in losing your personal data to hackers. The hackers can now use your personal data to act like you and participate in criminal activity.
The personal data that the cybercriminals can misuse include:
- Your username.
- Banking credentials.
- Social security number.
- Credit card details.
- Health ID.
Anything that can give away your personal information!
Types Of Identity Theft
Once the criminal has your personal information, here are the different ways they can exploit it.
- Child Identity Theft: Child Identity theft might not be common, but it happens occasionally. The criminal can use the child’s details to apply for credit.
- Credit Identity Theft: Credit identity theft happens when the criminal has your social security number and birthday; they use these two pieces of information to apply for a new credit card line.
- Medical Identity Theft: When the criminal uses your data to avail of medical health care facilities, it is called medical Identity theft.
- Taxpayer Identity Theft: The criminal can use personal details and social security numbers to steal all your tax benefits and credit.
- Account Takeover: Criminals use your personal data to change the ID and password so that you do not have access anymore.
Although these are done by the criminals, just because they are using your identity, police officers will catch you.
Common Methods Used For Online Identity Theft Scams
While you are online, there are many ways to fall victim to identity theft. Here we have listed some of the most popular methods used last year.
Hacking is the most common method hackers use to get your personal information. Hackers exploit the vulnerabilities of the security system and find their way to your sensitive information.
Phishing is a scam tactic that is done via unknown links. The links are usually sent via email with attractive offers. If the person clicks that link, harmful viruses and malware are transferred to the system giving the hacker total control.
Pharming is a duplicate website that looks similar to the original website. The hacker has access to the DNS and redirects all the traffic to the duplicate website.
After redirecting the traffic to the bogus website, they try to convince them to give away their credit card details.
While most people understand what’s happening, there are people who give away their personal information.
Imposters are individuals who hid their real identity and pretended to be someone else. They convince people to trust them and share their personal information. Once they get access to your personal information, they use it for criminal activity.
Skimming is a method used to access your banking and credit details. The scammer manipulates an ATM machine. When you use the ATM machine to withdraw cash, your credit card number is read by the criminal.
The criminal can copy that number to a new card and use it to withdraw cash from your bank account.
Protect Yourself From Online Identity Theft!
The first step towards protecting yourself from falling victim to identity theft is installing antivirus software and using a VPN service while using the internet.
Antivirus software ensures that you are not exposed to any virus and malware attacks, and VPN ensures your digital movement is hidden from hackers.
For more information on identity theft, contact us!