Identity theft is one of the hottest crimes happening on the Internet. With the advent of technology, thieves are getting more and more advanced. For cyber thieves, your personal information like your username, email address, passwords, phone numbers, banking information, and medical records, among others, is a treasure house.
They are always in an attempt to steal personal information of the individuals to use it for deceitful activities and other misconducts like selling your information.
The worst, identity theft can cause tremendous monetary damage and severe damage to your reputation that may never be restored.
If you want to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft, then you should start preparing today.
What is online identity theft?
Identity theft on the Internet is a serious crime that is aimed at stealing financial or personal information of a person. In most cases, the stolen information is used for personal gains, such as making purchases or selling financial details on the Internet to the highest bidder.
On the other hand, identity theft is also done with the aim of causing harm to your reputation. If someone has a grudge against you, he/she can manipulate the online medium to present you in a negative way in front of the whole world.
Online thieves use numerous methods to access the databases and hack or infect an individual’s system to steal sensitive information.
There are typically five different types of identity theft:
In this case, hackers use advanced technology to get their hands on an individual’s personal information and use them for fraudulent activities. Typically, the thieves hack into the computer networks and plant malware that provides them access to personal information, as well as public records.
Identity thefts of minors apply when someone uses a child’s identity for several forms of personal gain. In most cases, a fraudster will use the minor’s personal details to apply for employment opportunities or to obtain loans or residence. Child identity theft is done by someone close to the minor, such as a family member or a close friend.
Medical identity theft occurs when someone pretends to be another individual in order to receive free medical care or other health benefits.
Financial identity theft is when your personal information or identity is misused to obtain money or other benefits. Essentially, the purpose of financial identity theft is to use someone else’s financial information to make purchases or transactions.
Criminal identity theft is when a criminal pretends to be someone else to evade arrest or prosecutions.
Protecting yourself from identity theft
There are certain measures that you can take to ensure that you are safe from identity theft happening to you. This includes:
- Checking your credit card payments and bank account details daily
- Avoid clicking malicious links when browsing on the Internet
- Safeguard your smartphone. Don’t give it to people you don’t know and don’t install apps from unknown sources
- Never provide sensitive information and details over the phone
- Always use strong and unique passwords
- Shop from safe online sources
- Hide your ATM PIN or credit card PIN when making transactions
- Always install latest software updates
You have to be vigilant when it comes to your own safety. With the world getting digitized, nothing is safe anymore. Thus, always follow safe and robust security practices.