Internet Security - Identity Theft
In this chapter, we will discuss regarding the identity theft. What is it? How to prevent it and what measures do we need to take to prevent them?
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is an action when someone steals your name, surname and other personal data and uses them to do something unlawful. Nowadays, this is a very sensitive issue because many people transmit their sensitive data over Internet and the big as well as small companies have to take their incentives for anti-fraud policies in the work place.
In home too, we should be prudent to minimize this risk. It is worth a mention that more than 50% of identity theft is done by people whom the victim knows. Mainly this identity theft is done for financial profit.
A good website that will help you with ID theft is – https://www.consumer.ftc.gov which has detailed steps about what to do, how to report, etc. in such cases.
How Does ID Thefts Take Place?
There are quite a few ways in which people or hackers can steal your ID. Some of the most commonly used ways are as follows −
Most of the skilled people in such activities rummage through trash looking for invoices, bills and other papers with your personal information.
By stealing wallets which can contain your ID card, credit card, and other personal identification details, etc.
Stealing expired applications for preapproved credit cards and fill them out with a different address.
Take important documents such as birth certificates, passports, copies of tax returns and the likes during a burglary of your house.
Steal the Social numbers and identities of children who are especially vulnerable because they don’t have credit histories and it may be many years before the theft is discovered.
Steal personal information from a book or a newspaper article.
Steal personal information of a relative or someone that he or she knows well, perhaps by being a frequent visitor to their home.
Hack into a computer that contains your personal records and steal the data.
“Shoulder surf” by watching from a nearby location as he or she punches in a mobile phone.
By phishing methods mentioned in the upper section by requesting you in general to fill a form with your data.
Consequences of not Reporting an ID fraud?
Following are a few consequences which might happen if you don’t report an ID fraud to the concerned authorities.
The criminals can take mortgages, buy expensive stuff, etc.
The criminals may run up huge amounts of debt, then file for bankruptcy in the victim’s name, ruining their victim’s credit history and reputation.
Make a terrorist attack.
Using these ID’s, they can also indulge in human trafficking.
How to prevent ID theft?
To prevent any ID theft, you can take care of the following important pointers −
Shred all the unused documents before throwing.
Don’t give any personal and sensitive information over the phone.
Don’t make your passwords like your birthday, your name, etc. which will be easier for people to guess and understand.
Keep your document in a secure place at house away from your roommate or cleaning lady, etc.
Check to make sure you are aware of all accounts listed on your name, and balances of these accounts are up-to-date.
What to do if you are a victim of ID theft?
You can do the following things as soon as u get to know that you have been a victim of ID Theft.
- Immediately call the police to file a report with your local law enforcement agency.
- Document all your steps like keep all the correspondence and copies of the documents.
- Call your bank to cancel all your ATM and POS transactions.