Identity theft sounds like a subject for an action drama movie, where you have to fight your right to retrieve your identity back. However, in real life, identity thefts are more common and less filled with actions, but unpleasant consequences of having your personal information out on the dark market and sold to criminals. Still, it reminds of action, as you need to be faster than others to retrieve your data back.
However, it seems that it is very unlikely that your information will be stolen, since you may not be the high profile celebrity or millionaire. Still, it is important to know how to avoid falling victim to cybercrime, what services you need for staying on top of security (for instance, identity protection services like LifeLock review or antivirus software), and what you should know about scam schemes. You should be ready to know how to act in case something unexpected happens to you and your ID.
What Is Identity Theft?
You know what identity is; from various perspectives, it is a set of characteristics and views that make you a unique person. At the same time, everything from your name, address, credit card or bank numbers, security numbers, medical insurance account numbers, and many other aspects that usually indicate you as you are counted as your identity.
When someone tries to exploit your name, social security number, or credit card credentials to purchase goods or steal your money, they are stealing your identity.
Through various methods, criminals may gain access to your information from phishing links and websites to phone surveys presented as a genuine company or bank representatives. Often there’s a malware involved that harvests your personal data and then transfers it to criminals.
On the other hand, cybercriminals can sell your data to the black market or Dark Web, where it is almost impossible to trace the original seller. One of the FBI’s major goals is to prevent and fight cybercrimes, so you can rely on legal assistance if needed.
How to Recognize that Your Identity Was Stolen
- The most obvious sign that your identity was stolen is called from debt companies (this scenario is the worst and means you have to deal with a fraud opened on your behalf).
- You don’t recognize some transactions on your card or bank account.
- You are denied for loan applications (often, companies do not provide the reason for denial, but it may signify you have fraud cases opened).
- Overall, suspicious activity on your accounts.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
The most common recommendation is to create a strong password for your accounts where the information can be stored. Never write it down or provide it to someone who imposes themselves as company representatives (either phone call or email).
The best solution for identity theft protection is to buy an antivirus product to detect various malware that can harvest your personal information or steal it in exchange for ransom (so-called ransomware). It is the best solution for detecting something hard to spot with a bare eye.
The next step would be a subscription for identity protection services provided by large companies with decades of experience, with extended features of Lost Wallet assistance and help with credit records.
The vast majority of these solutions are associated with large credit companies that can provide you with legal and financial help. It is important to be alerted and cautious before someone will exploit the data breach.
Overall, it is good to know the basics of safe Internet behavior never to give a chance for cybercriminals in their pursuit of your information.