Identity theft is an illegal act which involves the theft or misuse of your personal data, such as your name, birth date, social security number, account names and passwords, or any other personally identifying information (PII). Identity thieves acquire and use your personal information for financial fraud (conducted both online and offline) such as incurring credit card charges, withdrawing money, taking out loans, signing up for services or receiving government benefits, all in your name.
Identity thieves use all sorts of methods to steal your personal information but rely most often on phishing, spoofing, or malware to help them achieve their goals.
Identity theft is becoming more common with (by some reports) up to 7% of US households falling victim to it every year. Indeed, according to Gallup, identity theft is now more widespread in the US than burglary, mugging, car theft and physical assault combined.
Victims of identity theft can have their credit ratings destroyed, be held responsible for financial compensation, be pursued by debt collectors, be blacklisted from receiving future benefits and even far worse nightmarish scenarios! What’s worse, on average most identity theft victims take 12 months to realize that their identity has been stolen and used for fraudulent purposes.
In that length of time, much damage can be done to your credit rating, financial position and reputation. It can also take a long time to undo the damage caused by identity theft, so it’s important to take proactive steps to protect yourself from this rising crime.
Learn about the biggest risks giving rise to identity theft and how to prevent them.
- What is Phishing and Spoofing; How to Protect Yourself
- Be Aware of WiFi Security when using Wireless Internet Hotspots
- Safe Online Shopping
- Protecting Yourself from Keyloggers
- Identity Theft and Financial Fraud Prevention Checklist