As the internet has completely transformed the way we live by making our lives easier, then, on the other hand, it has some demerits too.
Internet problems today need to be resolved. Identity theft online is of those issues.
Identity theft, that nasty crime in which someone obtains and uses your personal information to commit fraud or theft is the fastest growing criminal activity in the U.S. And it could be coming soon to a bank account near you!
How All This Happens?
You’ve probably heard about the most common forms of identity theft—when a thief tracks down your credit card numbers and then uses them to max out your accounts. That kind of theft—the stolen credit card variety—is fairly easy to notice and fix.
Once they’ve got your data, thieves can use it in a lot of different ways.
- The most common kind of fraud occurs when crooks go on an attacking to rack up charges on your existing credit card account—but the fun doesn’t stop there!
- They use your credit card or credit card number to charge purchases to your accounts, often changing the address your bills are sent to so you won’t notice right away.
- Using your name, date of birth, and Social Security number, a thief can open a new credit card account in your name.
- With the same info, crooks can apply for phone or wireless service.
- Some thieves use your name to open a bank account and write bad checks. Others counterfeit your checks or steal your debit card number to drain your existing bank account.
- Your identity can be quite handy when a thief wants to take out car loans or mortgages.
- Crooks can use your name when filing for bankruptcy, or co-opt your entire identity to hide a bad credit history or a criminal record and start a “new life.”
- In rare cases, a thief might give your name to police when arrested. When he’s a no-show at his hearing, guess who the cops are coming after with a warrant?
- No, not the latest extreme sport, just a profitable if rather a messy way to get your private info from your trash. Your old computer can also yield some great stuff to a crook with a few techno-skills.
- Cyber-thieves are eager to steal that file you labeled “Important Private Confidential Sensitive Personal Information.” Subtlety’s not your strong point, is it?
- By acting like any trusted person, legit, like a bank or an employer, thieves can obtain all your vital stats in one handy package. Don’t let them order your report before you do!
- Some thieves try to listen in on your conversations or watch you enter your PIN at an ATM, using high-tech Bond gear like binoculars and video cameras.
- A large number of businesses have you in their database systems, along with all the information a thief could want. To get the goods on you, thieves hack into databases or pay employees to divulge your data.
- Lazier thieves may simply buy your information from someone who has used one of the above methods. That’s bad news since it means multiple impostors may be committing fraud in your name.
Believe it or not, if your identity is stolen, the chances are about 50/50 that you’ll never find out exactly how it happened.
Some kinds of theft—when a crook steals data from company files, for instance—are very hard for victims to trace
Things get more complicated, though, when a thief steals your SSN from records at your job and uses it to apply for a mortgage or car loan. Cases like this are hard to detect and often even harder to resolve.
To know more about SSN read here.
The problem is that all the techno-marvels we take for granted often help to serve up our identities on a silver platter to clever, techno-savvy thieves.
For example, it’s great to be able to shop online, but your electronic transaction may give a hacker access to your credit card number.
Pre-Approved Credit Applications:
While pre-approved credit applications make it easier for you to get a card, they also make it a breeze for an imposter to get credit using your name.
Your personal information is available in more places than you may even realize—and it presents thieves with the perfect opportunities to make some quick cash
Internet shopping. No lines, no crowded parking lot…you don’t even have to put on a shirt. And neither does an identity thief before he hacks into a web merchant’s database and steals your credit card number.
Online shopping isn’t quite so convenient if it results in identity theft, so before you and your credit card get too cozy over there, check out these rules for shopping smart.
- Check for a little picture of a padlock or an unbroken key in the bottom right-hand corner of your browser.
- Read privacy policies. Secure ordering only protects your information en route.
- Shop at sites you know. If you aren’t sure about a site, do a little research before you divulge your digits.
- Look for privacy seals—like BBBOnline, TRUSTe, or VeriSign—on the sites where you shop. These colorful little logos, usually located at the bottom of a homepage, certify that the company adheres to certain privacy and security guidelines. Click on the seal to make sure it’s genuine, and to find out exactly what its placement on the site means.
- Shop with a credit card—not a debit card. If a thief intercepts your credit card number and runs up charges, federal law limits your liability to $50 per card. If the same thing happens with your debit card, you can lose $500 or more.
- Keep detailed records of your online purchases in case anything goes wrong.
- Log off after using public Internet terminals, and, if possible, save your shopping for your home computer.
- Use special software to wipe your hard drive clean before chucking your old computer.