Reality of ID Theft

The Reality of ID Theft – and How to Secure your Data

 Any scam, crime or deception that can result in loss of personal data, including the loss of username, credit card number, social security numbers, username, password, and health ID’s, without your permission is known as identity theft. In simple terms, stealing any information related to you is identity theft.

Identity theft is a common phenomenon of the 21st century. According to Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance Service (CIFAS), identity theft accounted for 61% of all the cases of fraud reported to the CIFAS in 2019. Moreover, the survey reveals that 38% of respondents were pretty concerned about online identity theft.

By stealing your personal information, the criminals charge your credit card, withdraw cash from your bank accounts, or get medical care using your health insurance cards. Government organisations like the Federal Trade Commission have extensively requested individuals to anonymous bank account transactions or any information that displays a compromise of data.

Whenever an anonymous person charges your card, the chances are that you receive a notification. These clues should not be ignored and block your card without thinking for once if you receive any such information.

Today, personal information is scattered all over digital space, and a fraudster might file his tax return from your account. These actions can be catastrophic, and the calamity they can bring can affect your whole life.

But all is not doom and gloom when it comes to identity theft. There are numerous ways to reduce the likelihood of theft, and the best part is, even if you don’t have impeccable software skills, these skills are simple and easy to use. But before we begin about ways to prevent identity theft, let us look into different types of identity thefts.

Different Types of Identity Thefts

Identity theft comes in all forms. From malicious motives to financial gains, there are different types of identity thefts that can occur in your everyday life. Here are some of the most common types of identity thefts that can occur:

1.     Financial Identity Theft

If your existing financial account is compromised, you have experienced financial identity theft. A financial robbery can result in infringement of your financial resources by either creating a third-party account acting in your name or stealing money from your account.

In 2014 alone, financial thieves stole $16 billion from 12.7 million victims. In most cases, these thieves tried to get a credit card loan or simply buy things by claiming to be someone else. Such activities are hazardous as they incur massive damage to the victim’s credit score and their ability to get a loan in future.

If you receive a message about any anonymous purchase from your account, this is a sign of a financial identity thief. Rush to your bank and report it.

2.     Medical Identity Theft

The International medical board has made it compulsory to present a prescription for buying any light/heavy dose medicine. But medical identity thieves use another individual’s personally identifiable information to obtain medical services, prescription drugs, or any medical insurance coverage.

Depending on the circumstance, both the patient and provider can benefit from fraudulent medical claims. The information stolen by an employee, or an external hacker can earn him profit from selling your personal identifying information (PII) and receiving reimbursement for the health services.

Therefore, monitoring your credit reports and guarding your private information is essential to protect yourself from medical identity theft.

3.     Criminal Identity Theft

Remember the scene for the movie Salt in which Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) gives false information to the police. That’s criminal identity theft. Criminal identity theft happens when someone gives incorrect information to the police when they are arrested.

Another form of criminal identity theft is when criminals get fake state-issued identity documents to conduct their illegal activities.  It is challenging for the victim to get clear the records of criminals. Sometimes the victims might need to attend a court proceeding to be cleared of the charges.

To save yourself from criminal identity theft, you can conduct backgrounds checks. Different sources can provide you with the correct information about an individual and his history. Therefore, it is highly advisable to get the documents checked and attested.

4.     Child Identity Theft

Identity thefts are becoming more common, especially among children. Protect the sensitive information of your Child to save his future. Child Identity theft occurs when someone takes the personal data of a child and uses it to get services or benefits

A Child identity thief might use the social security number, name, and address of the child to commit fraud. The information obtained could be used for applying for loans, renting a place to live or other government benefits, like nutrition assistance or health coverage.

A study reveals that 66% of child Id theft victims are under 8. Parents can use several parental control apps to secure to protect their children from any harm. The maximum the measures are, the limited are the chances for their data to be misused.

5.     Synthetic Identity Theft

This type of identity theft is a fraud where a criminal combines real and fake information to create a new identity for himself. In this case, the real identity being used is usually stolen.

Criminals make fraudulent transactions and open fake bank accounts by adopting a synthetic identity. Contemporarily, this technique is used extensively in money laundering to hide the receiver’s identity.

Synthetic identity theft is one of the fastest-growing financial crimes in the United States. As the perpetrator of the crime is not identified, these types of crime mostly go unnoticed.

Now that we have expostulated different types of identity thefts, let us look into ways to mitigate the crime in our society.

Tips on Mitigating the risk of identity theft

Tip 1: Have a Complicated Password For All Your Social Media Accounts & Online Banking Information.

According to the Federal trade commission, a secure password is complex, unique, and lengthy. The primary measure you can undergo to protect yourself from identity theft is creating different passwords for various accounts.

FBI recommends you create a password with at least 15 characters because they are more difficult for a computer hacker to crack. Specific applications like password managers automatically generate a secure password to keep your data protected.

Only select those questions that only you can answer for the security question. Also, stop giving generic answers like ‘What’s your favourite animal’ to a dog. These are simple to guess and can severely infringe your security.

Tip 2: Review Your Credit Report Regularly

You can request your credit card report free of charge. So don’t worry about your credit card score and ask for a monthly credit card report from your Bank manager and thoroughly read it—any anonymous transactions on the account sign that your credit card is misused.

Moreover, if a fraudster opens a new account using your personal information, it will pop up on your credit report within one or two months. That’s the reason monitoring your credit report is an easy and effective way to uncover identity theft in its early stage.

Some other signs that you’ve become a victim of identity theft are:

        You’re being denied credit

        Bills for the legitimate account are not showing.

        Notification about a tax return being filed on your behalf.

        A message from the bureau saying that a transaction has been made from your account.

        An email displays that your account was signed in at a different location.

If you experience any one of these things, it is better to go to your bank account and update them about the anonymous transactions from your account. The sooner the criminal is caught, the better it is for you.

Tip 3: Make Sure You Are Only Giving Out Personal Details on Secure Websites

Only make purchases from a secured website. Look out for the ‘s’ in ‘HTTP’. This means that the site is protected by Secure Socket layers (SSL) encryption. You should also check for a trust icon on the site and look out for the word “secure” or “verified”. If the site has these words, it’s secure, and if it doesn’t, it’s fake.

Also, look out if the website has the correct contact information on its page. A safe website will display an email address, a phone number, a physical address if they one, along with a return policy and other social media account. This information doesn’t necessarily claim that the website is secure but indicate that you can reach out to someone if you need assistance.

You can also check out the privacy policy. This policy reflects how the website gathers your data and how much the website protects this information. Nearly all website has this policy, and with strict laws introduced under the Data privacy law by European Union, websites are bound to comply with these laws and ensure that their website is safe.

Next time you make a transaction, look out for an SSL certificate, a privacy policy, contact information, a trust badge. These signs can help you in the process of making a secured transaction.

Tip 4: Never Share Your PIN With Anyone

No matter how close the person is, never share your PIN with anyone. Scammers use brand pictures as their profile pictures, which has prompted many users to share their verification code with these anonymous users.

Scammers can take control of your data and perform various tasks by getting these codes. They can also use your data to send illegitimate messages or download a backup of all your data. Furthermore, you will be automatically signed out of your current account.

Therefore, it’s advisable never to share your PIN with anyone. And if you have become are a victim of this scam, act fast by reverifying your account to your phone. You can also broadcast the news to your friends and family members that your data has been compromised as a security measure.

Remember, companies will never ask you for your personal information. On its FAQ page, Talk Home Mobile also says, ‘To keep your account safe, don’t share your verification code with anyone. This notification reminds you that you should never share your PIN with anyone.

Tip 5: Enable Two-Factor Authentication on Devices and Account

Two-factor authentication, sometimes called two-step verification or dual-factor authentication, is a security process. The user must provide two different passwords to access his data. This authentication is extensively used today to protect users’ credentials.

Two-factor authentications typically rely on two factors for signing in. The first factor is the password he uses to sign into his account, and the second factor is security token or biometric verification. Most websites like Talk Home Mobile and Apple also send a security code to your phone for confirmation.

This technique to protect data has been used to control sensitive systems and data access. Online service providers are using 2FA to protect their user’s credentials from hackers. This also protects them from phishing campaigns and other irrelevant data.

In the future, environments require a lot more security than they used to. Companies opt for three-factors authentications for higher security, with voiceprints being the third factor. Factors like geolocation are also being incorporated to check user identity during login.

About Ambika Taylor

Myself Ambika Taylor. I am admin of For any business query, you can contact me at [email protected]