Cited by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as “America’s Fastest Growing Crime “ , Identity theft , as the name suggests, happens when someone uses another person’s identification document to impersonate that person for any reason. It is estimated that almost 10 million people in the United States have been victims of identity fraud. Thieves will steal and deceitfully use your names, social security numbers, credit card information and other personal data.
There are different types of Identity Theft and the internet is also another venue for online scammers to get your identity. This article will reveal the three identify theft ways that online scammers use. Your identity is vital and knowing these methods may just save your life.
Phishing Scam is an identity theft method where a person is tricked into revealing personal identification and security information. With this personal information, online scammers can easily access your bank accounts, apply for loans and even destroy your credit rating!
The scam usually starts with email messages from valid companies that tell you to verify your personal information. Once you receive the deceiving email, you will then be asked to click on a link where you will fill in your personal information. These links are spoofed and are designed to retrieve your personal information.
How to Avoid Phishing Scams:
Never trust an email that just says, “Dear Valued Customer”. Banks usually address clients by their real name. Trusted senders that know your real name.
Don’t rely on emails asking for verification. Banks already have your personal information and it should be in their file.
Don’t click on suspicious links. Type the web address that your bank has provided for you to access your account.
Trojan Horses are often called malware and these software programs stay hidden and attached to emails or downloaded files and programs. These malicious programs then log your keystrokes to detect your online account’s username and password. Online scammers will have a ‘back door’ to your system thus gaining access to your personal files.
How to Avoid Trojan Horses:
Use antivirus programs that can detect Trojans.
Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders.
Spyware is a generic term for programs that gathers all confidential information and the user has no idea about it. The spy will access usernames, passwords, online purchases or emails. It monitors internet activities and after getting all the information, the spyware will then use it for scamming purposes.
How to avoid spyware:
Beware of unsolicited email. Spam may contain links that can download spyware.
Don’t open email attachments from unknown senders. Spyware can be sent in the form of email attachment. Once the file is opened, the computer will then be infected.
Use a firewall or anti-virus software. Firewalls and anti-virus software can defend you from malicious spyware.
Now, you know about the common identity theft methods. By keeping yourself aware, you can take the steps to protect your identity and assets.