How Can I Protect Myself from Identity Theft Online?

What is Identity theft?

Identity theft is the UK’s fastest-growing technique to carry out criminal activity. It is a type of deception, crime or scam involving unauthorized use of your personal data like user name, passwords, credit cards, banking details, etc that is used without your permission to commit a crime and other fraud in your name. The Identity theft is carried out online as well as physically by using printed documents.

How are identities stolen?

  • Physically identity theft: Customer become victim of identity theft through various kinds of exploits. It can happen like your family members steal wallets, mail, bank statement, credit cards extra copy without your permission and even waiter may steal your identity while you give card to process the payment.
  • Online identity theft: It happens when consumer fall for tactics such as phishing and confidence scams or download Malware onto their devices like computer or smartphones that steals their details. Using unsecured wireless network, sharing passwords with unfaithful person or having their info stolen when records of data are breached on companies, government and many educational sites.

The Symptoms

  • Not getting bills and other correspondence-indicating that a criminal has given a wrong address proof in place of your own.
  • Getting credit cards which you never applied.
  • Getting calls from companies or debt collectors for things which you have not purchased.
  • You notice entries on your credit card or bank statement for goods which you never ordered.
  • You will not be able to log into your site using your normal passwords because a criminal has logged in as you and modified it.

Recovering their identity may cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars to few consumer and take months to resolve resulting huge damage to their reputation, one may lose their job, rejection of loan application or someone asserted for crimes committed by someone else using their identities.

Key steps to prevent identity theft online:

  • Protect your devices infected by malicious software using powerful up-to-date security application and ensure that OS updates are installed.
  • You must learn to spot spam and scams. Few phishing scams are simple to identify but other phishing present in your email, social networking sites or websites can look very appropriate. The only method to avoid such phishing scam never click on the link that has been sent to you.
  • Make use of strong passwords that are long, use mixture of upper case and lower case letters, symbols, numbers and that have nothing to do with your personal data like name, birthday, age, pet.
  • By law you have the right to monitor your credit scores per year.
  • Review your credit score to view is there any new new credit cards, loans or any other transactions on your account which you are not aware of and take immediate steps to terminate and investigate about such issues.
  • Freeze your credit, so that no new credit can be given without additional information and controls.
  • Make use of trustworthy websites while purchasing things.

Stay alert-Watch for common signs of identity theft like as mentioned below:

  • Fake details on your credit card reports like name, Social Security number or address.
  • When your bills don’t arrive or arrive late contact your creditors as soon as possible because ID thief may hijack your account and modify your billing address to hide the crime.
  • Receiving new credit cards that you haven’t applied for.
  • For no apparent reason credit cards being subjected to high interest rates or credit approval denied.
  • Getting notices or calls for products that you never purchased.

Frequently applying these preventive measures could greatly reduce the risk of identity stolen and also instantly alert you if such a problem arises.