Identity Theft is on rise – protect yourself from being victim!!
The most valuable information for a hacker is knowing the identity of the Internet users. If they can steal this information, it is quite simple for the hacker to steal money or commit any fraud on the hacked identity. It is this reason that identity theft is on rise. This article explains the issue, the modus operandi and the Protection Mantra against this crime.
- Saswat Bose, 10th, Navy Children School, New Delhi
- Rashi Gupta, 8th, DAV Public School Jasola Vihar
- Mallika Srivastav, 8th, DAV Public School Jasola Vihar
- Apeksha Maurya, 8th, DAV Public School, Jasola Vihar, New Delhi
- Nikhil, 8th, DAV Public School
What is Identity theft?
It is a kind of cyber crime in which a criminal steal someone’s personal information and uses it for fraudulent purpose. With this the hacker can make a purchase or commit other fraud etc by impersonating the victim’s identity . The target of the hackers is to get information contained in Aadhar card, driving licence etc as all personally identifiable information exist there.
How identity theft happens?
There no set rule of identity theft. Hackers have many tools and methods to do it. Due to the nature of technology and internet we are supposed to share our personal information on various places and platforms.
These are the most common ways criminals can get hold of your data and commit identity theft:
- Phishing and Spam Attacks: By using a fraudulent link, criminals trick a victim to share personal information
- Social media platform: Collecting victim’s personal information like pictures, place, address and daily routine etc.
- Mobile Phone Theft: Personal information collected from stolen mobile phone
- Insecure Browsing: Browsing insecure sites and sharing information online
- Phone Call Scams: Criminals call victim and pretend to be a well wisher and from some bank or government department and collect personal information
- Card Skimming: It happens when a cyber criminal attaches a counterfeit device to ATM machine or Point of sale device at shops, gas stations etc.
- Wi-Fi Hacking: Steal personal information when a victim connects to insecure a Public WiFi network
- Dark Web Marketplaces: The dark web is often where large number of victim's personal information lands up for sale after it's been stolen.
- Data Breaches: Cyber criminals gain access to an organization's data without authorization and steal personal information of registered users.
What can the criminal do using the personal information?
- Open new credit cards account by using this information.
- Make unauthorized purchases using these credit and debit cards.
- Use your health insurance to get medical care.
- Pass an employment background check or rent an apartment, using your Identity.
- Open social media account with your picture and name and cheat your friends
Effects on the victim:
In most of the cases it impacts victim psychologically and financially. Victim may go through all the traumas and stress due to unnecessary bad credit, financial loss or and police case against victim due to a fraud committed on with victim’s identity. Most distressing is that a crime done on victim’s identity lands victim to police station to face the initial enquiry even though he/she doesn’t have any clue as to what has landed him/her in such trouble.
How to Check if you the victim of Identity Theft:
- You aren't receiving important mail such as bills or checks
- You get charged in statements for credit cards you didn't purchase
- You're denied credit, despite having an excellent credit rating
- You have unauthorized bank transactions or withdrawals
- You've received notice that your personal information may have been compromised in a data breach
- You get an email from an organization that says your account has been recently accessed and it wasn't you.
- You get notice from regulatory authorities for improper transactions
- Create unique, complex passwords, for each account and device.
- Enable two-factor authentication for all your accounts, be email account, banking account or social media accounts
- Change your password, if you suspect the account has been compromised
- Refrain from posting any sensitive information that is personally identifiable on social media platforms
- Shred/Tear official documents or anything where your personal information is printed
- Only use secure and known websites. The URL will start with an "https" (the "s" stands for "secure").
- Don't click links, open attachments, or respond to emails from unfamiliar or untrusted sources. These may contain malware.
- Don’t give your info to anyone saying they are from bank or company , just disconnect and call bank directly and ask them.
- Make sure you use a secure WiFi network
- And if you get to know your identity has been stolen report as soon as possible and report to service provider as well as cyber crime police
Weseso is a non-profit organization which works for cyber safety of the society with students as agents of change.
To learn more about cyber security read weseso blogs, written by students from different schools. You can also write blogs and take part in various knowledge sharing discussion. To get involved, you first need to become a cyber warrior and become a part of larger community who are committed to secure family, friends and society from cyber crime.
To know how to become a cyber warrior, click the link: https://weseso.org/how-to-become-a-cyber-warrior/