Identity theft conjures up frightening imagery, but what does it mean to have your identity stolen? You don’t have to be afraid about being digitally replicated as a robot. That is not the case. The true repercussions of identity theft, on the other hand, may range from bothersome to life-threatening. Sure, you may need to change one or all of your credit cards. Furthermore, the pandemic has made life much more difficult for victims of identity theft. Let’s take a look at some of the ways identity theft may affect your life.
1. You’ll have to replace those credit cards:
You can buy almost anything these days with a credit card, but every purchase comes with a significant risk. You have no way of knowing whether the restaurant waitress who took your card copied down the number or used it to make an internet transaction while processing your payment. A dishonest merchant could steal your card number and CCV when you shop online and sell it on the black market.
Credit cards are still a valid payment option because banks do not hold you liable for unauthorised payments. A portion of bank fees is simply used to cover those losses; in exchange, the bank receives your loyalty and trust. When you’re forced to replace a compromised card, it’s especially aggravating if it’s one you use to automatically pay for online subscriptions or bills.
Also keep in mind that those protections only apply to specific cards. Corporate and small business accounts may not always have the same level of protection. You or your company could be held liable for unauthorised purchases if a criminal obtains your corporate credit card number.
2. Hackers could own your email accounts:
What is your email account’s password? Do you even know it, or do you just rely on your phone or tablet to keep that account open? Your account could be hacked if your password is weak or easily guessed, or if someone gains access to your unlocked phone. And a Ransomware attack on your email account is far more damaging than simply having someone read your correspondence.
Control of your email account allows a hacker to gain access to important accounts, including financial ones. If you used the same password for your email and financial accounts out of laziness, a thief has instant access to all of them.
Your accounts aren’t protected from a blackmailer who owns your email account, even if you’re vigilant and use your password manager’s password generator to establish a unique, strong password for each site. Real people forget their passwords, thus secure sites must account for this. A password reset link can usually be requested by the forgetful user. What’s more, how do people usually get that link? That’s right, it’s in their inbox. The account now belongs to the criminal who used that link to reset the password, and you, the legitimate owner, are locked out.
3. Hacked social media accounts will embarrass you:
You must use a strong password to safeguard your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts, just as you would your email account. If you don’t, or if a hacker uses a hacked email account to gain access to your social media accounts, you could face serious consequences or shame. Your private chats, photos, and posts are all public information.
When a data thief takes over your social media account, you lose more than just your privacy. Instead of creating a username and password, more and more websites allow you to log in with a Google, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media account. While this may appear to be a practical solution, it also makes your social network account a highly lucrative prize for identity thieves.
4. A stolen social security/national insurance number can put your whole life on hold:
The Social Security Number, National Insurance or Aadhar Card numbers are used more than any other identifier when it comes to identifying people. The first three digits were assigned according on your location, with low numbers in the east and high numbers in the west, therefore it originally contained some information about you. From IRS tax filings to home mortgages, you must provide your SSN on a variety of government and corporate documents. In some circumstances, you simply need to provide the last four numbers for verification, but you’re more than likely to give the regulating agency your entire SSN.
The worst part about this kind of misuse of your personal information is that you may not be aware of it for years. It may even take considerable investigation to determine whether or not the theft occurred.
5. Scraped Personal Details Can Empower Scammers:
Did you believe the person digging around in your recycling bin was looking for bottles and cans to recycle? It’s plausible, but he could also have been hunting for bank statements, bills, or other documents that contained personally identifiable information.
The thief can register new credit accounts in your name using your age, social security number, address, and other personal information. The first bill you receive for the new account will, blow the scam, but a cunning criminal could have those bills delivered to a bogus address. You won’t even be aware of the identity theft until the collection agency contacts you.
Protect Your Identity at All Costs
Now that you know what might happen if your identity is stolen, check out our advice on how to stay safe online in general and how to safeguard your identity in particular. Enabling two-factor authentication where it is available is one approach to make it more difficult for someone to gain access to your accounts, even if they know your password. It is important to stay aware and adopt cybersecurity awareness training programme.
Siccura Cybershield is a cybersecurity awareness training program designed to build a positive cybersecurity minded culture.