How do you respond when someone pronounces your name wrong or calls you with another name? It is so annoying, right? Or, exhaust your credit limit that you don’t have any idea about? Scary, is not it?
Identity theft has become the most common cyber threat that’s growing immensely. Based on 2017 Identity Fraud study, a record 15.4 million Americans were victimized by identity theft; an increase by over 2 million sufferers from the last year.
So, what’s exactly identity theft?
Now, a cyber-criminal can control and abuse the data in as many ways as he wishes to.
How can you know when you’ve been victimized?
If you believe, your identity was stolen, rather than sitting there, bewildered, you need to be proactive to comprehend the warning signs and stop yourself from a grave financial or reputation damage.
Do not ignore any unauthorized transaction however small the amount is. This might be a hint before transacting a massive sum of money. The secret is aimed at analyzing the accounts if a charge goes through. Every significant bank let their clients monitor their costs instantly online or via a dedicated smartphone program. Therefore, any suspicious activity in your account should not be disregarded anyway. Don’t await a monthly invoice but frequently monitor your credit reports and all of your financial accounts to recognize fraud as soon as possible.
Follow up with your creditors if your bills aren’t arriving on time. “Identity thieves will steal victims’ mail-and in some circumstances change their mailing address through the Post Office into a fraudulent address they have set up,” says security consultant Robert Siciliano. This might be a sign that an identity thief has intruded.
3. Receiving invoices for purchases you did not make:
If you begin receiving bills or notices of late payments that you don’t have any idea about, then a person may have stolen your identity to obtain financial advantages. Focus on your incoming and outgoing bills and statements both on your inbox and mailbox. Should this happen, you must notify your lender that you’ve been a victim of identity theft and it is not your debt. Also, file a police report to prevent additional allegation.
An identity thief may have filed a tax return in your title to walk off with a fraudulent return. While submitting your taxes, if you get a notice that a filing has been made under your social security number or your return is rejected even if there’s not any typo and your social security number is totally correct, then there’s high possibility that your identity has been compromised.
5. Data security issue reported by your employer:
It’s not a huge deal for hackers to learn about your present or previous employer, due to social media. If someone gets hold of your social security number and the name of your current employer then it is not so tough for him to collect unemployment benefits on your name. If that’s the situation, you might get educated about it someone from the Individual resource.
6. Obtaining two-factor authentication alert:
We often place two-factor authentication alert for our personal account. If you receive text messages using a six-digit pin to input to avail a membership or service you do not recognize then, beware! Log from that account and change password instantly. Change all the passwords which might be tied to that email on other websites.
7. Growing of a credit rating:
“Check your credit reports regularly for accounts you did not open and tough inquiries that could suggest fraudsters are attempting to extend credit in your name,” advised by Ralph Rodriguez, chief technology officer at Confirm.io. You might get telephone solicitations for expensive items as a result of high-ticket activity on your account.
But hijacking of social networking accounts is just as scary. Circulating private videos and photos throughout the world wide web is the subject of public humiliation.
Should you become a victim of the identity theft, take immediate action:
• Discover the origin of the theft. Try to recall your online actions which may have caused the theft; any odd attachment you opened, downloaded a suspicious software/app, enrolled in an e-commerce website, used your credit card to enroll in a new site etc..
• Change the password instantly
• Contact one of the credit reporting bureaus’ fraud alert sections and put a fraud alert in your credit report.
• Inform your creditors, banks and insurance companies describing the situation
• Inform law enforcement. This is the evidence of the offense. Credit reporting bureaus would further investigate according to the report. If your identity has been compromised through malware or virus, it might still be hiding in your computer and attack again.
These are the hazards of living in a connected world.