June 14, 2024
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🆔 What is Identity theft?

It is a form of digital fraud, where a criminal not only steals your data but also impersonates you with it. Impersonators then proceed to use stolen Social Security numbers, passports, or bank details to do whatever they want.

Statistics show that active social media users are 30% more likely to fall prey to identity fraud. Those with Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram accounts have that number at 46%. With their personally identifiable information on the surface, it’s easy to steal it and assume the identity of the victim. This is why data theft targets this information first.
Fraudsters don’t even need that much info to go with. Any two or three out of this list will already allow them to figure out most of the data about you.

📈 Identity theft is on the rise

And I know, it sounds so dramatic, but I’m not overrepresenting this issue. According to the latest Identity theft statistics report over 42 million people in the US alone ended up victims of identity theft last year. With over 53 billion dollars in damages, each lost plenty of money and nerves to identity theft. It’s no surprise that 67% of respondents of the Gallup report admitted to being afraid of identity theft.

💔 Consequences of the Digital Identity Theft

The repercussions of identity theft are not just monetary. In one of the worst cases that only went to trial in 2016, an identity thief lived 26 years under a stolen persona.

The impersonated victim lost his family, house and even a driver license, while getting some serious criminal records for the crimes he didn’t commit. And during all this time he was harassed by loan sharks, for decades. Eventually, he managed to clear his name, but that’s perhaps the scariest part of digital fraud. Not everyone does.

Back in 2010, another case of identity theft quickly lost almost a million dollars for the Maryland citizen. The 56-year old David Crouse lost all his retirement savings and ended up in a debt he expected would take at least 5 years to clear. We don’t know what happened to the man in the end, but even after publicising the identity theft, criminals continued using his identity around the country.

🙅🏻 How to prevent Digital Identity Theft online?

Between malware, weak passwords and phishing cases, one thing is similar: lack of knowledge. Identity theft victims are often unprepared to protect their data. Let’s make sure you know how to prevent identity theft online. Recalling the attack vectors of identity theft, there’s a lot you can do.

As far as phishing scams are concerned, you can use the guide in this video we made on the topic. I think we’ve covered all the points that should protect you against phishing.

Other than that, a couple of tips: use two-factor authentication. Consider investing in cybersecurity software, such as antiviruses, password managers or VPNs. Antiviruses will take care of malware, VPNs – provide secure browsing connections and password managers can reduce the risk of your passwords being cracked. But in any case, you should be careful of any third-party software you install. And of course, remember to manage your privacy settings on social media.
The only thing you can’t really avoid yourself is data breaches from certain websites.

About us: our dedicated team of security researchers and investigative journalists regularly delves into previously unexplored depths of online security and privacy in order to shed light on stories that often have an unseen influence on the online world at large. A number of our investigations and reports have been featured by industry-related publications and global news leaders like Forbes, PC mag, Techradar.
Want to learn more about digital identity theft and consequences of it?
READ HERE 👉 https://cnews.link/explainer_6/
0:00 Intro
1:04 What is identity theft?
3:19 Digital Identity Theft on the rise
4:10 How is identity theft perpetrated?
4:56 What should you do to prevent identity theft?
6:56 Conclusion

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