Identity Theft is one of the growing crimes in the modern internet world. In this post, we would know what Identity Theft is, how it happens, and prevent it from happening to you.
Identity Theft happens when cybercriminals get your personal information illegally and use it to conduct various illicit activities without your knowledge. The identity thief uses various ways such as Phishing tricks, fake emails, fake calls, and more to gain confidential information like credit card details, name & address, banking credentials, social security number, medical insurance number, and many such data.
Cybercriminals can use all such information to conduct various malicious activities such as −
Use your credit card number for carrying out transactions.
Use your confidential data to get a new phone number, gas connection, rent a place, electricity connection.
Steal the tax refund you get
Use your health insurance number to claim it in their favor.
Use your banking information to get a new credit card.
Identity Theft is conducted in various ways, which we will discuss in the next section.
Data Breach is the most common way of conducting Identity Theft. It generally happens to the organization that contains a large user database such as Social Media sites or service-providing platforms. Commonly through Data Breach, information such as name, address, email IDs, social security numbers, login credentials, credit/debit card numbers are stolen.
Browsing the HTTP websites
Sites whose URLs begin with HTTP are unsecured ones as they are not equipped with the SSL certificate. The SSL certificate ensures that the data and information you share on the site are encrypted, and no third party can access it. If you visit any HTTP site and share your confidential information there, you are likely to be a victim of Identity Theft
Cybercriminals design unique malicious programs to steal sensitive information for Identity Theft. The malware programs like Spyware, Keyloggers, Browser Hijackers can silently work in the background of your system, monitor your activities, log sensitive information, and send them to attackers.
Phishing is one of the common ways to get personal information from users. In this, the cyber attackers use several social engineering tricks to lure users into providing the information by themselves. After getting the information, the attacker performs Identity Theft and illegally uses the gained data.
Public WiFi networks such as in Cafes, Malls, etc., are usually not encrypted and hence unsafe for browsing and sharing data. If you are connected with such a network and initiate communication, a skilled hacker can infiltrate your communication, monitor it, and steal the required information.
In the modern internet world, it is pretty challenging to protect your data from leaking. However, by taking some preventive measures, you can limit data theft and hence prevent Identity Theft.
Never share your personal information such as name, address, contact number, email ID, date of birth, social security number, banking details, and more such data with anyone stranger or any unofficial sites.
Regularly review your credit card statements and check for any unauthorized use.
Always ensure that the URL of the website you are visiting begins with HTTPS, i.e., it is equipped with an SSL certificate.
Keep installed security programs such as Antimalware and Firewall on your system.
Use robust passwords and keep changing them from time to time.