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Cyber Crime – Identity Theft

Last Updated : 27 Sep, 2022
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Identity Theft also called Identity Fraud is a crime that is being committed by a huge number nowadays. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information to commit fraud. This theft is committed in many ways by gathering personal information such as transactional information of another person to make transactions.

Prerequisite – Cyber Crime, and Cybercrime causes and measures to prevent it 

Example: Thieves use different mechanisms to extract information about customers’ credit cards from corporate databases, once they are aware of the information they can easily degrade the rating of the victim’s credit card. Having this information with the thieves can make you cause huge harm if not notified early. With these false credentials, they can obtain a credit card in the name of the victim which can be used for covering false debts. 

Types of Identity Thefts:

There are various amount of threats but some common ones are :

  • Criminal Identity Theft – This is a type of theft in which the victim is charged guilty and has to bear the loss when the criminal or the thief backs up his position with the false documents of the victim such as ID or other verification documents and his bluff is successful.
  • Senior Identity Theft – Seniors with age over 60 are often targets of identity thieves. They are sent information that looks to be actual and then their personal information is gathered for such use. Seniors must be aware of not being the victim.
  • Driver’s license ID Identity Theft – Driver’s license identity theft is the most common form of ID theft. All the information on one’s driver’s license provides the name, address, and date of birth, as well as a State driver’s identity number. The thieves use this information to apply for loans or credit cards or try to open bank accounts to obtain checking accounts or buy cars, houses, vehicles, electronic equipment, jewelry, anything valuable and all are charged to the owner’s name.
  • Medical Identity Theft – In this theft, the victim’s health-related information is gathered and then a fraud medical service need is created with fraud bills, which then results in the victim’s account for such services.
  • Tax Identity Theft – In this type of attack attacker is interested in knowing your Employer Identification Number to appeal to get a tax refund. This is noticeable when you attempt to file your tax return or the Income Tax return department sends you a notice for this.
  • Social Security Identity Theft – In this type of attack the thief intends to know your Social Security Number (SSN). With this number, they are also aware of all your personal information which is the biggest threat to an individual.
  • Synthetic Identity Theft – This theft is uncommon to the other thefts, thief combines all the gathered information of people and they create a new identity. When this identity is being used than all the victims are affected.
  • Financial Identity Theft – This type of attack is the most common type of attack. In this, the stolen credentials are used to attain a financial benefit. The victim is identified only when he checks his balances carefully as this is practiced in a very slow manner.

Techniques of Identity Thefts : Identity thieves usually hack into corporate databases for personal credentials which requires effort but with several social-engineering techniques, it is considered easy. Some common identity theft techniques are:

  • Pretext Calling – Thieves pretending to be an employee of a company over phone asking for financial information are an example of this theft. Pretending as legitimate employees they ask for personal data with some buttery returns.
  • Mail Theft – This is a technique in which credit card information with transactional data is extracted from the public mailbox.
  • Phishing – This is a technique in which emails pertaining to be from banks are sent to a victim with malware in it. When the victim responds to mail their information is mapped by the thieves.
  • Internet – Internet is widely used by the world as attackers are aware of many techniques of making users get connected with public networks over Internet which is controlled by them and they add spyware with downloads.
  • Dumpster Diving – This is a technique that has made much information out of the known institutions. As garbage collectors are aware of this they search for account related documents that contain social security numbers with all the personal documents if not shredded before disposing of.
  • Card Verification Value (CVV) Code Requests – The Card Verification Value number is located at the back of your debit cards. This number is used to enhance transaction security but several attackers ask for this number while pretending as a bank official.

Steps Of Prevention From Identity Theft:

Following are some methods by which you can enhance your security for identity thefts :

  1. Use Strong Passwords and do not share your PIN with anyone on or off the phone.
  2. Use two-factor notification for emails.
  3. Secure all your devices with a password.
  4. Don’t install random software from the internet.
  5. Don’t post sensitive information over social media.
  6. While entering passwords at payment gateway ensure its authenticity.
  7. Limit the personal information to be carried with out.
  8. Keep a practice of changing your PIN and password regularly.
  9. Do not disclose your information over phone.
  10. While traveling do not disclose personal information with strangers.
  11. Never share your Aadhaar/PAN number (In India) with anyone whom you do not know/trust.
  12. Never share your SSN (In US) with anyone whom you do not know/trust.
  13. Do not make all the personal information on your social media accounts public.
  14. Please never share an Aadhaar OTP received on your phone with someone over a call.
  15. Make sure that you do not receive unnecessary OTP SMS about Aadhaar (if you do, your Aadhaar number is already in the wrong hands).
  16. Do not fill personal data on the website that claims to offer benefits in return.
  17. Last, be a keeper of personal knowledge.

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