5 Ways Hackers Use Data For Online Identity Theft

Your information is everywhere! Social Media Accounts, Job Application Documents, Forms You Fill-Up, Documents You Throw Away. How can you protect your information, and prevent Online Identity Theft?

Every day, thousands of hackers use your data and information for activities involving Identity Theft. This is why people are not really “trusting” these days. Trust is not easily found anywhere, it is earned. With different digital platforms and media, either trying to sell you something or scam you into something, there are things you can do to make sure that you survive out there.

Hackers? Aren’t they just from the movies?

Nope! Hackers are real. Hackers present a real threat to the everyone around the world, especially in the cyber world, as they are illegally using your information, This is commonly known as identity theft.

What is Online Identity Theft?

This involves someone taking your personal and sensitive information, like your full name, location, phone number, birthday, and email address. Then, that person uses that information in some illegal activities, without your permission. Anyone can become a victim, and the consequences go far beyond just being annoyed.

Hackers carry it out quickly and skillfully by collecting data input on a public computer or an unprotected website. So, do we just stand here and wait to be a victim? Why wait for your data to be compromised and stolen? Let’s prepare ourselves!

Here are some of the most common ways that hackers do, in taking advantage of you and your information.

1. Use credit cards or take out loans.

It is easy to open credit cards or apply for loans in today’s world. Just an image of your ID, your name, address, and birthday can be enough. Once hackers have all this information, it will just be a matter of hours or days before someone contacts you regarding a loan or credit card approval. When this happens, they can use the money, or the credit card, to buy things, delivered them to random locations, and facilitate untraceable transactions.

2. Manage social media accounts.

There are so many social media platforms out there! Have you created accounts on all of them? When someone has your personal information, they can create an endless number of accounts everywhere on the internet, especially if they have your picture. There are also reports of real people’s Facebook accounts being suspended, because of being reported as not a real person or being the imitator. This means that the social media accounts that the posers and hackers create look more authentic than the actual persons’ accounts.

3. Sell to Other Criminals

Hackers enjoy the advantage of breaching your data simply because they can get tons of money selling them to other criminals, especially on the dark web. This is affiliate marketing in hackers. The hackers steal information and sell them to different kinds of bad influences, which uses them in all kinds of crimes.

It’s important to habitually check all your records everywhere, and report any suspicious activities. Criminals may do all sorts of bad things and easily blame you.

4. Claim Government Services

With your name and information, hackers and identity thieves can claim airline miles in cash. They can also access health insurance information and steal your identity as their own, to benefit from medical care. Online Identity Theft can also lead to hackers being able to file for government benefits, such as unemployment and cash assistance, rent an apartment, or apply for a job in your name.

5. Extortion and Blackmail

Blackmail and extortion have been trending since the start of the information age. There are severalnumber of reports that tell us identity theft is more common than ever. A lot of people are being blackmailed into paying a large amount of money or doing something incredibly illegal, in exchange for their data staying a secret. For example, a hacker can blackmail you into paying 1 Million USD, in exchange for keeping your previous criminal records, and bad credibility, hidden.

Can Online Identity Theft Be Prevented?

Hackers are very clever. Once your data has been breached or stolen, they don’t need to use it immediately for anything. They wait it out until your guard is down again, or you forget all about Identity Theft. Then, they strike!

Here are some precautions and recommendations to prevent identity theft:

  1. Always use a security software or firewall, including anti-virus programs for your devices.
  2. Use strong passwords. Avoid using real-world words, personally identifiable information, or dictionary words, especially those that have meaning to you like your birthday or anniversary. Additionally, in assigning security questions avoid those that you might answer truthfully to someone in the future. Example.
  3. Learn to pick up and avoid phishing emails, spam calls, and messages. Don’t trust too easily.
  4. Don’t reply, or even read emails and messages with suspicious links or download attachments.
  5. Create and protect a strong password through the mixing of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
  6. Visit secured websites with a URL with a lock in the left-hand corner and start with “HTTPS”.
  7. Allow two-factor authentication, a code, and a password to access your sensitive data and accounts.
  8. Check your financial transactions habitually and always keep on track. Look and report anything suspicious.

People who wait until the last minute to report any suspicious activities to their personal information accounts are very vulnerable to hackers. While you can still prevent a large-scale data breach, fully protect yourself in the early stages, against online identity theft. Practice and execute measures above  so you can be less vulnerable. This will also make you ready once involved in such a situation.

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