What is Identity Theft and How to Protect Yourself
Identity theft is a big problem all over the world. Even if you did not become a victim, having heard statistics on the theft of personal data, you could think: what if I will be the next one? It is important to know what theft of personal data is and how much you are at risk.
It is possible and necessary to protect yourself from identity theft, and any user can cope with this. In addition to manual actions, with the expansion of the antivirus market, new solutions have appeared aimed specifically at protecting credit and other data from hacking. The IdentityIQ review has detailed information on how such applications work. In this article, we will dive more into this topic and highlight the solutions both independently and using an automated resource.
What is Identity Theft?
Data hackers typically obtain personal information such as passwords, ID numbers, credit cards, or social security numbers and use them on behalf of the victim for their purposes. The stolen confidential information can be used for various illegal purposes. The stolen data is used to obtain loans, make online purchases, or to gain access to the victim’s medical and financial information.
How Significant a Threat Is: Some Statistics
Each year, many major information leaks happened and allowed attackers to obtain significant amounts of data.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC), in 2018, 1,579 data leaks were recorded, which affected approximately 179 million records. In 2019, the number of data violations increased by 17%. In recent years, medicine has become the main industry that has been violated by hackers. According to statistics, most of the compromised materials were the medical information of the victims.
The largest problem in this area was the theft of CT and MRI images of 24 million people from 590 online archives of medical images, all of which were in the public domain. It seemed to be one of the largest leaks of confidential data.
Hackers hacked the site of a major Indian health organization and stole 6.8 million records containing information about patients and doctors.
Records contain confidential personal data of patients, information about their doctors, diagnoses, and treatment history. Cybercriminals sell stolen data in clandestine markets – between October 2018 and March 2019, FireEye analysts found several databases that cost more than $ 2,000.
The Danger of Identity Theft
The personal data leak can allow fraudsters to commit any actions on behalf of the victim and use it for illegal purposes.
If confidential information fell into the hands of the attackers, such as the username, phone number, and email address, then the person is very likely to be on the list of potential victims of phishing – he will receive letters with malicious code or links to virus-infected resources.
This data is also in demand by spammers and advertising agencies. Contact information can also be used to collect information about people and select passwords for their accounts on different services.
How Does Identity Theft Happen
Unfortunately, there are a lot of ways of identity theft in the modern world. The main ones that experts highlight:
- Hacking and stealing databases from government agencies, medical and educational institutions, acquiring databases from other hackers on the darknet network.
- Recovery of personal data from hard drives and cloud storage.
- Theft or fake fingerprints, voices, and other biometric data.
- Getting information from social networks or other open sources.
- Infection of devices with malware to obtain the necessary information of varying degrees of confidentiality.
How to Protect Yourself
You can protect yourself and reliably protect personal data, and for this, you need to be careful and attentively use the Internet. A few tips to avoid the fate of the victim:
- Protect your data. Do not fill out detailed questionnaires in dubious institutions or to participate in any promotions. Be careful not only about the originals but also to copies of your documents.
- Use complex passwords to enter social networks, electronic payment systems, and other important services. Social media profiles are an absolute storehouse of personal information. For a fraudster, it may contain everything they need to begin the process of stealing your identity. Be sure to check the privacy settings often, and whether they are set to private. Enable two-factor authentication
- Be careful about using public Wi-Fi. Fraudsters can easily set up a fake network designed to collect your information. When you’re on public Wi-Fi, avoid using important apps like mobile banking. Avoid public Wi-Fi with no protection. If you have no other choice, use a virtual private network (VPN), which allows you to encrypt all your messages, thus avoiding such a problem as data theft.
- For purchases on the Internet, use a credit card with a small number of funds, including a virtual one. In this case, if you will be threatened, losses will be minimized.
- Monitor the activity of your bank and credit accounts. Regularly check your accounts for suspicious activity. It can help detect cyber criminals’ activities before they cause significant financial damage or damage your reputation. Set limits for various transactions to prevent any malicious actions with your money. This is what you can do to avoid errors when starting out with cryptocurrencies too.
- Do not open suspicious messages in your inbox and avoid suspicious links. Phishing makes the most of identity theft attempts.
Special Applications for Protecting Your Identity
Constantly monitoring all of these options on their own is laborious and takes time. Therefore, to ensure the security of your identity and data, you should choose an automated solution that will track and prevent single hacking attempts. Do not neglect this factor. Many people think that attacks are carried out only on large databases, but in reality, each of us can become a victim. And then it will be only on our conscience.
Antivirus and protection solutions have a similar principle of operation. Using IdentityIQ as an example, consider which services help us avoid the fate of the victim:
Credit Report and Score Delivery – this function allows you to monitor all changes and notifies you if it detects suspicious actions with credit cards and histories.
Dark Web Surveillance – this function monitors the darkest part of the Internet and sends you alerts.
Application Monitoring – this feature oversees all the instances of applying your personal information in loans, cell phone numbers, and credit requests. You can prevent this attempt.
Identity Theft Insurance is an important option too. If nevertheless, the theft has occurred, then you can contact the service and get insurance payment. Be wary of your data, and do not let another impersonate your identity.