Identity theft: what is it?
If you have received unauthorized charges on your credit card statement, or if a dental clinic is charging you for services you didn’t receive, you were probably a victim of Identity Theft.
Identity Theft is a crime that happens when someone uses your personal information without permission to get involved in scams and often make money. Identity Fraud is a synonym for Identity Theft.
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What personal information are important to fraudsters?
The list of personal information that may be useful to criminals is extensive. But we have created a collection of the most important ones:
Full Name, Date and Place of Birth, Social Security Number, Address, Email Address, Driver’s License, Credit and Debit Card Number, Bank Account Number, Phone Number, and Passport Number.
What can a criminal do with your personal information?
How does it happen?
Criminals have several ways to steal your personal information. The most common techniques and ways are:
- Phishing and Spear Phishing: fraudsters send fake emails to you pretending to be someone you know, sometimes with malicious links and attachments, so you can provide sensitive data, open a backdoor to a malware or even make a money transfer to them.
- Insecure Wi-Fi: we all know that some Wi-Fi networks, especially public ones, are unsafe. Through them, cybercriminals can gain access to your machine, hijacking valuable information and even infecting your device with malware.
- Data Breach: that’s not your fault, but companies that own your personal information, such as Facebook or your medical clinic, can release them on the web, creating some trouble for you.
- Direct Theft: we use the term Direct Theft to define actions such as stealing your wallet, installing fake credit and debit card machines, hijacking your mailing, applying scams over the phone, and others.