Identity theft is a global issue, yet unless you have been affected by it, you may not appreciate the extent of the threat it poses.
To remedy this, here is a look at what makes this type of fraud so appealing to cybercriminals, as well as the solutions available to anyone who wants to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft themselves.
Private data is incredibly valuable
Fraudsters have been stealing personal information from unsuspecting individuals for centuries, but it is only in the digital era that it has been possible to achieve this remotely and on a large scale.
With sensitive data stolen through malware infections, data breaches and social engineering, it is possible for crooks to either sell the information to other underhanded operators, or leverage it themselves. This can result in innocent parties having money taken from their accounts, purchases made without their permission and various other fraudulent acts committed against them using their details.
Ultimately the aims of fraudsters remain the same as ever, but the methodologies they use are more advanced and almost anyone can be susceptible to them, unless precautions are taken.
Protection is essential
There are lots of ways to combat the threat of identity theft while still making full use of the digital services that are available today.
First, it can be sensible to get identity protection software which is specifically tailored to shielding users from the multifaceted tactics that cybercriminals can deploy to exploit victims. This includes getting alerts when suspicious activity is detected, enabling you to nip issues in the bud before they get out of hand and recover any cash which may have been compromised after a breach.
This is not just something which consumers should use, since businesses are also vulnerable to attack and most people are still unwilling to trust companies completely with their data, according to studies.
There are also a number of recommended best practices which you should aim to adhere to when using the internet and interacting with others if you are eager to sidestep identity theft incidents.
Only using trusted sites run by reputable brands is definitely worthwhile. Making use of a spam filter to prevent phishing emails from reaching your inbox is also vital. Familiarising yourself with the tactics that con artists use in their phoney communications to coax people to part with their private data will help you avoid falling for common cons.
Another important step is to make sure that you never give out personal data via any digital form of communication, particularly if the receiving party is not someone you know or trust. Even handing out something like your phone number or address can be problematic, especially if you are using an instant messaging platform, a social media site or any other solution where this information is guaranteed to be secure.
Using a bit of common sense will help you to avoid becoming one of the millions of victims of identity theft targeted each year.