In today’s digital world, it’s more important than ever to protect your identity. Availability of your personal details online makes it relatively easy for fraudsters to steal your information and misuse it. Identity theft in simple terms is the act of stealing someone’s personal information in order to gain access to their accounts or to impersonate them.
Ways in which your identity can be stolen:
As the name suggests, it’s a criminal practice where someone steals your personal data by spying over your shoulder or using a mobile phone to click a photo while you are using your credit card, keying in your PIN at an ATM, filling up important information in a form or cheque, or just typing your password.
Wireless Identity Theft
Also known as RFID (radio frequency identification) theft is a technique for gathering an individual’s personal information from RF-enabled cards carried on a person in their access control, credit, debit, or government-issued identification cards.
Pharming is a type of cyberattack in which fraudsters redirect internet users trying to reach a specific website to a different, fake site. You enter in your identifying information, such as bank passwords and credit card numbers, and unknowingly submit it to someone who is out to steal your identity.
It stands for malicious software and includes anything that can be used to gain access to your PC and steal data from it. This could be through spyware, keyloggers, Trojan horse, adware, worm, or virus. It disguises itself as something innocuous and stays hidden in your PC.
Phishing is an attack that attempts to steal your money, or your identity, by getting you to reveal personal information — such as credit card numbers, bank information, or passwords — on websites that pretend to be legitimate. It is usually carried out through spoofed emails and spoofed websites.
Vishing scams attempt to trick targets into divulging personal information such as credit cards, bank accounts, and social security numbers using telephone technology.
A fraudster pretends to call up from your bank or service provider claiming to need your personal details.
In this method, the secret information in the magnetic strip of your credit/debit card is copied and then used on a counterfeit card. The information so captured can be used to make fraudulent transactions.
A type of phishing scam where attackers send SMS messages (or text messages) to trick victims into sharing personal information or installing malware on their devices.
How to protect yourself from identity theft?
- Destroy your private records and statements
Scrutinize all correspondence from financial institutions such as credit card statements, solicitations, and other documents that contain private financial information, and tear it up or shred it. Tear your ATM slips and canceled cheques.
- Be defensive with sensitive information
Avoid putting your sensitive information in an email, social media, or text message.
- Avoid questionable websites:
Look for signs that a webpage is secure and legitimate. Only download software from sites you trust.
- Use strong, unique passwords for your online accounts and turn on two-factor authentication for them
- Protect your computer and smartphone with strong, up-to-date security software.
- Monitor your credit report and credit score.
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