As the name itself says, identity theft is about stealing someone’s identity. It is often thought that this is something that can only happen to wealthy people but that’s not true. Because identity theft is one of the fastest growing crime problems, we as security experts like to pay attention to this in a blog!
Identity theft occurs in various forms and in most cases you will be left behind with damage to your finances, reputation and/or livelihood. That’s why it’s important for you to know what it is and even more important: what you can do to prevent it.
5 different forms of identity theft
Financial Identity theft
This is often the first form of identity theft that is thought of. Not so surprising since ‘money‘ is very often the motive to take over someone’s identity.
When you think of identity theft, you may immediately think of looting someone’s bank accounts and/or credit cards. However, a lot of other things are possible when hackers have enough personal information.
For example, they can apply for credit cards or loans in your name. You can imagine that this can have major consequences for someone’s financial situation.
Medical Identity theft
Hereby your identity will be taken over with the aim to obtain free health care, treatments or medication in your name. Another purpose may be to obtain reimbursements of, for example, a false hospital admission.
In addition to financial consequences, this can also have consequences for your health, for example a wrong diagnosis or the wrong healthcare as a result of incorrect medical information.
Criminal Identity theft
When someone commits a crime and discloses your personal information in the event of an arrest or detention, this falls under criminal identity theft.
This can have consequences for you as a victim in the form of a criminal record, problems finding a job or law enforcement.
Social security theft
Did you notice that you lost your social security card? Then report this to the local police as soon as possible and make sure you get a replacement card.
The loss can have major consequences. People with bad intentions can use this card to obtain a lot of personal information and use your identity to apply for loans or credit cards in your name.
Synthetic identity theft
Contrary to the other forms of identity theft, a new identity is composed by using the personal data of multiple victims.
Each time it concerns a person whose credit is stolen and the personal data of someone else. The new identity allows hackers to apply for loans or credit cards, make use of services,…
How do criminals obtain the necessary information for identity theft?
Due to computers hackers can obtain your personal information in both traditional and innovative ways:
- Physical cards on which personal data can be retrieved.
- Documents with personal data in the garbage.
- Personal data on the hard disk of old devices.
- Personal data on social media or on the internet.
- Phishing mails.
How do you protect your personal data against identity theft?
- Monitor your accounts and transactions
- Make sure that the data on your smartphone is secure, but also make sure you have your physical maps with personal data on them.
- Watch out for phishing mails
- Provide strong passwords
- Shop smart online
- Last but not least: Freeze accounts so that you always have to identify yourself by a date of birth, social security number or other personal information that only you can know.
Would you like more information on how to protect your employees’ personal information, confidential documents, old hard drives or other information within your company? Our subsidiary ShieldIT specializes in security and is happy to help you with this. Please contact us for more information.