Identity theft - how to protect yourself
Identity theft has become a sad phenomenon, especially in recent years. It mainly involves the misuse of personal data by third parties. Criminals try to obtain other people's data in order to carry out their plans. The identity of a person is stolen and abused accordingly. The victim is often unaware for a long time. Many do not even know that their personal data is being misused for such criminal activities. In most cases, various pecuniary advantages are the goal of these criminal backgrounds. Very often, however, such identity theft is also related to damage to the reputation of the person concerned.
Mostly, it is about direct identity theft in connection with the Internet. The World Wide Web is misused to harm people. Financial gain is derived from this, but sometimes it is just a matter of inflicting harm on a person. Unrequited love or envy are the typical motives for this.
There are different forms of identity theft on the Internet. A distinction is made between the following:
- Insinuation of criminal acts
- False suspicions
- Pretence of false facts
- Creation of false profiles in various social networks
- Misuse of the name in various blogs and forums
- Ordering of goods
A typical example of this is also the social network Facebook. In this case, such identity theft is particularly common. The profile is copied and rebuilt. The victim's friend lists are abused, often resulting in dramatic stories.
The consequences of identity theft
The consequences of such identity theft can be devastating. This is not a typical and conventional theft of goods or valuables. Very often, financial liquidity is lost and the creditworthiness of those affected is damaged. Sometimes there is also a total loss of legal entitlement. Not infrequently, the crimes committed also lead to criminal charges as a consequence. In order for the reputation to be restored, an immense amount of effort is required.
Taking possible countermeasures
As a victim, it is important to issue a fraud alert and also notify the credit bureau. In any case, a report should be filed with the police. It is equally important to immediately contact various credit card companies and financial institutions and inform these institutions. At the same time, there should be an immediate credit freeze. Finally, it is inevitable to seek legal assistance.
Some advice can be taken to heart to guard against such online identity theft from the outset. Personal data should therefore always be handled with particular awareness and care. This data should therefore always be kept under lock and key. As far as online measures are concerned, the following options will help:
- Secure WiFi network
- Use public hotspots with caution
- Protect the home computer and all connections
It is also worth mentioning to use strong passwords and to change them regularly. A strong password should therefore be generated again and again. Under no circumstances should these passwords ever be passed on. As far as offline measures are concerned, it is worth checking account statements regularly and also backing up all personal documents. Account movements should generally be monitored and checked regularly. In some cases, it is necessary to use a protection service.