When somebody steals your identity online they use your personal information to pretend to be you or assume your identity when transacting so that they can gain access into your resources, obtain credit under your name, or other services. If you are a victim of online identity theft you can lose all the resources that you have worked so hard for and you may also suffer the consequences of the actions done by the cybercriminal who stole your identity.
How do cyber thieves obtain your personal information?
Here are the most common ways that are used by cyber thieves when they want to gather personal or confidential information for online identity theft:
- Some steal your personal information using malicious software or breaches in your browser security
- Large scale online identity theft happens when someone manages to hack into computer networks and company database. This allows the hacker to acquire the personal information of clients, use it to steal their identity or sell the personal information for a profit.
- Email phishing or sending emails or links which masks them as legitimate companies that will ask you to enter confidential information such as your credit card or social security number.
- Getting personal information from published posts in social media sites.
- Gaining access to victim’s emails and diverting the incoming emails to gain access into your personal and financial information. This is also done to divert bank or credit card statements of accounts that you are not aware of and delay your discovery of the unauthorized activity.
- Gaining your trust and befriending you or somebody in your family through social media sites to trick you into giving out your personal and financial information.
How can you protect yourself now from online identity theft?
The ease at which people can now have access to the internet is increasing the chances of criminals to gain access to personal information to steal their identities. But there are ways for you to protect yourself from online identity theft. You should always be wary of sites that ask for personal information especially for your credit card and social security numbers. When purchasing online make sure that you only transact with legitimate sites to ensure the security of the information you provide. Monitor your bills, bank statements, and credit score for anything unusual. These things will surely give you a clue that somebody is possibly posing as you.
When using public internet connection from a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, it is a good idea to secure your connection with a VPN. A VPN is a virtual private network. It will protect the data you are transmitting through your WiFi connection.
Identity theft is a serious matter and you may lose all the things that you have worked for as well as the integrity of your name so ensure that you and members of your family are being smart when using online services and social media sites.