Identity theft is something we hear about a lot. However, have you ever wondered how exactly this situation looks? How can someone steal your identity? Unfortunately, there are many ways of obtaining your personal information illegally and some of them don’t even require that much effort on the scammers side. In this article we will be explaining how identity thieves can get access to your information and use it for their own personal gain and how you can protect yourself from them.
Identity theft - meaning
Identity theft takes place when someone impersonates a completely different person by using their personal details and commits fraud. Most oftenly the perpetrator does this for financial gain. However, there are cases where an identity thief wants access to free healthcare.
This can unfortunately seriously damage a person's financial situation and put them in huge debt, so knowing how identity thieves work and being alert against them is very important.
How does identity theft happen?
Identity theft can occur in many ways. For example, your information might be leaked and made public during a company security breach (this mostly affects online retailing companies, since they have to deal with sensitive data during payments), but that isn’t the only way in which someone can get a hold of such sensitive data and steal an identity. Scammers use methods such as phishing and voice spoofing (scams designated to make the victim share personal, sensitive information) to manipulate people into giving out information (such as their name, surname, Social Security number), so they can open bank accounts. They will use stolen credit cards and can even steal someone's mail or dumpster dive in order to get access to documents which can include information which can be exploited.
How do you detect identity theft?
You can detect identity theft by knowing what some common signs of it occurring are. If you notice any of the following things, it is possible that you have fallen victim to identity theft:
Bank withdrawals which you do not recognize,
Unfamiliar charges on your credit report,
Medical bills for services not used by you,
Calls from debt collectors for an account you didn’t open,
In the event where you are met with these or similar situations, your identity may have been compromised and taking immediate action is recommended. Search for the appropriate department which handles such cases in your country of residence and get help. For US citizens, that institution is the Federal Trade Commission.
By reporting such an incident, you can also help in stopping identity thieves and protect other people against crimes of such nature.
How to protect yourself from identity theft
Protecting yourself from identity theft is possible. Always be alert to scammers and thieves, whenever throwing out parcel packaging (or any generally anything that can include such details), be careful not to leave any personal information such as your address or name. Regularly monitor your bank activity and credit reports so you can notice any change. Freezing your credit or setting up a fraud alert can give you some additional protection. Don’t share personal information on untrusted platforms where it’s possible that someone could steal it. Make accounts only on safe platforms and always look out for yourself.
If you don’t take such measures, it is unfortunately possible for someone to steal your identity. Learning how to protect yourself is essential to living a calm life, which is why monitoring your own image and identity is very important. Tools such as PimEyes can help you with this, since you can check where you appear online and be sure that no one is stealing your identity to scam others.
Perform a search to ensure that your identity is safe
Learn more on protecting yourself from identity thefts from the articles on our blog about creating a fake identity with your data, and preventing identity theft.
It’s very important to know how identity theft happens in order to take measures which will protect you. Always be alert and take protective measures against identity thieves. Monitor your presence and don’t give out information which might end up compromising your identity.