Internet identity fraud and theft can affect people at any time. It occurs when someone steals your personal information, such as your date of birth, device number, or social security number, and uses it to impersonate you online.
Fundamentally, identity is just information. And that’s why fraudsters have been so wildly successful over the past couple of decades. Once they have vital information, it’s almost impossible for the people on the other side of the transaction to determine if it is legitimate.
What Are The Consequences Of Identity Theft
The consequences of identity theft can be severe. Once a person has your passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account details, they can engage in multiple activities in your name, including:-
Applying for loans
Making purchases without you knowing
Accessing your existing accounts and siphoning off funds
Opening new accounts in your name
The financial consequences of these activities can be tremendous. In many cases, you may not be able to recover the money you lost, and your bank might not be able to track it. You could also be on the hook for a significant bill you never racked up.
Identity fraud can also harm businesses. Affiliate marketing, for instance, is rife with
device spoofing. Here, criminals pretend that they are using many different devices when filling out forms, instead of just one, increasing the apparent traffic of their affiliate links. Companies with affiliate programs believe they are receiving more affiliate traffic than they actually are.
There are other consequences of identity theft. These include damage to your credit score, various legal problems, and becoming liable for crimes committed by other people. In extreme cases, it becomes impossible for the courts to tell the difference between you and the person responsible for the crime. In other words, the internet can be a dangerous place.
How Do Thieves Obtain Personal Information
Cybercriminals use various tactics to obtain your personal information online. Some of the most common methods include:-
Phishing. Thieves may sometimes send you fake emails and messages from legitimate organizations, like banks and government agencies. The idea is to ride on the trust these brands have already generated to get you to hand over money without question. There are multiple ways they do this, not just over the phone. Once you type in or communicate personal information, software records it and the criminals can begin impersonating you.
Hacking. A little rare these days, hacking is still a concern and can lead to identity theft. Malware on your devices can collect password and credit card information, and forward it to malicious actors.
Data breaches. Lastly, some hackers may successfully breach company data, exposing sensitive information about you. This happens regularly, which is why it is so important to have backups and never share critical account information with companies.
So, there you have it: some of the ways you can protect yourself against identity theft and fraud online. Remember, both individuals and businesses are vulnerable. And criminals will often go after smaller, easier targets.