In this digitally advanced world, the concerns for cybersecurity are increasing with every passing day because of the rising number of cyberattacks. Every individual has their own digital identity in this digital world. These digital identities are prone to cybercrimes that are launched by sophisticated tactics.
Digital identity includes all the details about a person, an organization, or a device that represents an individual. Anything you post online or share on social media is also considered digital identity. All the details that you share while purchasing anything online, or for any other services also count as digital identity attributes.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a cybercrime that happens when someone uses your personal information—such as your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or other sensitive information—without your permission in order to commit fraud or engage in other illegal actions.
This theft is mostly done for financial gain by selling it online or by asking for ransom. It is possible to commit a variety of crimes in your name using this stolen information to open fake accounts, make unauthorized purchases, apply for loans, and more.
What are the Threats to your Identity
Anything you share online is prone to identity thieves who can steal your information and use it for their benefit like for financial gain. Following are examples of identity theft.
- Phishing Attacks:
Phishing is a cyberattack that is carried out by sending fraudulent messages that pretend to be from trustworthy and legitimate sources, typically over the phone, by text message, or via email. The attacker’s primary goal is to steal money, obtain login credentials, bank and credit card information, sensitive data, or infect the victim’s computer with malicious software. A serious and frequent form of cybercrime is phishing.
- Social Engineering:
A personal phishing attack is used by a thief to target you directly. In order to trick you into sharing more personal information by building trust, social engineering attacks frequently include confidential data about you or your business.
- Data Breaches:
Cybercriminals can get into your stored data and exploit them. Cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerabilities in organizations’ computer systems to access databases containing personal data without authorization, which is subsequently used for identity theft.
In order to obtain victims’ personal information, criminals pose as legitimate organizations like banks, governments, or service providers.
How to Recognizing Identity Theft
It is difficult to spot identity theft but there are still certain checkpoints that can identify identity theft.
- Unauthorized Bank Transaction:
Keep an eye on your bank statements and if you notice any unfamiliar transaction then you should immediately report it.
- Bills Received for Unknown Accounts:
If you notice any bills from an unknown account then it is also a sign of identity theft.
- Missing Mail or Statements:
If you stop receiving important mail or statements, it could indicate someone has changed your address without your knowledge.
- Anomalies on social media:
Unexpected posts, friend requests, or actions on your social media profiles could point to fraud.
- Unusual Emails or Messages:
Be cautious of phishing emails or messages that request login credentials or personal information.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
There are various measures by following which you can prevent yourself from identity theft.
- Use Strong Password:
Avoid using the same password on several accounts by creating secure, challenging passwords for each one. Password managers are recommended. In addition, employees should continue to change their passwords frequently.
- Use Secure Wifi:
Make your connection secure before performing any sensitive online activity like transactions, accessing bank accounts, or logging into your confidential data and social media accounts. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, especially when transferring or logging into sensitive data or accounts. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to protect critical information if you must use a public Wi-Fi network.
- Utilise security programs and tools:
Installing a firewall will shield your network from external dangers by filtering and blocking dangerous traffic. Install antivirus software so that it can check your devices for infection, and anti-phishing software so that it can stop phishing content. Consistently update all programs and software.
- Use Multifactor Authentication:
Try to use multifactor authentication (MFA) on your accounts as an extra layer of security. This will add an extra verification step to get into your account that can only be accessed by you.
- Utilise solutions for identity theft protection:
Utilise services that provide monitoring, notifications, and support in the event of identity theft by employing identity theft protection.
- Share your details wisely:
Consider doing a little research on the parties with whom you will be sharing data before subscribing for services and accounts. To learn how third parties handle your personal information, review company privacy policies.
Details or information about your identities can easily be accessed from:
Stealing mail to get account numbers.
Emailing a request for information while pretending to be someone else.
Stealing credit card numbers from merchants, businesses, and hospitals
Hackers can access and steal your personal information like,
Username and passwords
Date of birth
Credit card number
Social Media account credentials
Your digital identity is in danger anywhere you post or share anything online. Digital identity includes all the details about a person, an organization, or a device that represents an individual. Identity theft is a cybercrime that happens when someone uses your personal information without your permission in order to commit fraud or engage in other illegal actions. It is hard to identify them but it can be prevented by following certain measures.