Identity Theft: Process, Ways And Effects

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“Identity theft” is when thieves steal your private data or information. In order to take over or open new accounts, file, rent or buy properties, or for other criminal things by taking your good name. “Identity theft” is the fastest-growing crime all over the world. The very obvious reason behind it is that most of us have made our most valuable personal data or information -name, address, driver’s license, credit card number and social security number, etc. - available on internet and make easy for cyber criminals to stealing it! Here a good news is that consumers and businesses have fight against identity theft and they are winning even some battles but there is such a long way to go.

Artificial Intelligence is one of the biggest part of the identity theft . By using Artificial Intelligence criminal steals lots of information in digital form. Artificial intelligence and its subsets like machine learning and deep learning make it possible to accurately process, verify, and authenticate identities.

Introduction

Identity theft happen when someone steals your personal data or personal information and uses it without your permission or without your knowledge. There are so many forms of identity theft, and each one can affect you in a different way.

There's no way to exclude yourself against identity theft completely. But if you're intelligent in understanding how your information can be at risk and how fraudsters can use it, you'll be better know how to protect your data or information and act quickly when someone steal your information.

How Identity Theft Happens

Identity theft is a broad term that can apply any time when someone steals your personal information, such as your Social Security number, and uses it to create a new account, make a purchase or commit other fraud.

Because of the nature of technology and the internet, your personal information is always at risk. If you're not carefully monitor your credit file, you may not notice. You’ve been victimised until the damage has already done.

Here’s 10 of the most common ways identity thieves get hold of your data

1. Data Breaches

A data breach can happen when someone gain access to an organisation’s data without the authorisation. The most common types of information stolen in data breaches are full names, Social Security numbers and credit card numbers.

According to Identity Theft Resource Centre in 2018, there were 1,244 data breaches was in the U.S., and more than 446 million records were found.

Due to people having so many accounts with various kind of businesses and other organisations, it's virtually impossible to keep the information safe from a data breach, but there are various steps you can take to minimise the risk.

2. Unsecured Browsing

For the most important, you have to browse the internet safely, especially when you stick to well-known websites. But if you use any unsecured website and share information on that website or using a website that's been compromised by a hackers than you could be putting your sensitive information directly in the hands of a thief.

It depends on your browser, it may give you an alert if you try to access a risky website.

3. Dark Web Marketplaces

The dark web is the place where you’r personally identifying information ends up after it has been stolen. Hackers not always steals your information to use it for themselves, but may instead choose to sell it to others who have potentially nefarious intentions.

The dark web is a hidden network of websites. They aren't accessible by normal browsers. People who visit the dark web they use special software to mask their identity and activity, making it a haven for fraudsters. When your information ends up on a dark web marketplace, without your knowledge, anybody could buy it and putting your identity in more danger.

4. Malware Activity

Malware or malicious software is any kind of program or file that is harmful for a computer user. Types of malware can be computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses and spyware. These malicious programs can perform a variety of different functions like stealing data or information, encryption or deletion of sensitive data, altering or hijacking core computing functions and monitoring users' computer activity without their permission or their knowledge.

5. Credit Card Theft

One of the simplest forms of identity theft is credit card theft or credit card fraud. If a thief steals your credit card can gain access to your credit card information, then they can use it to make unauthorised purchases.

Mostly credit card theft are occur through a data breach, physical theft, credit card skimmers and via online retail accounts where card informations are stored.

6. Mail Theft

Since long before when there was no internet, identity thief has been combing through the mail to find documents that hold the personal information. Bank and credit card statements, and any other document that you send or receive through the postal system, that can be used to gain access to your data.

The mail you throw away can also leave you vulnerable, so make sure you shred all old mail that may contain personal information or personal data.

7. Phishing and Spam Attacks

Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to collect personal information and financial information or infect your machine or computer with malware and viruses. Some scammers also use text messages and other forms of electronic communication to steal your sensitive information. The message is look like it is coming from any reputable source and asking victims to give up one or more types of information.

Spam is electronic equivalent of the junk mail. The term refers to unsolicited, bulk - and often unwanted - email. Here is way to reduce spam:

Enable filters on your email programs:

Most internet service providers and email providers offer you spam filters. However it depends on the level you set you may end up blocking emails you want. It is a good idea to always check your junk folder or junk files to ensure the filters are working properly.

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8. Wi-Fi Hacking

If you are using your computer or phone on a public network - airport, department store or coffee shop Then the Wi-Fi - hackers may be able to steal your data. It has been established that most of the Wifi networks are extremely vulnerable to security breaches and are easy to be hacked. No matter if you are technically savvy or not, you must be aware that you need to have a password for wifi security. It is important for you to understand that someone could compromise your wireless network and there are many ways out there for you to protect yourself.

9. Mobile Phone Theft

Smartphones are a treasure of information for identity thieves especially if your phone’s apps allow you to log in automatically without any password or fingerprint. If someone try to steal and unlock your phone then it could allow them to view the information that they found in your apps as well as in your emails, text messages, notes and much more.

Make sure your phone always locks with a secure passcode or password, biometric screening is set up properly and your passwords aren't stored in plain text anywhere on your phone for the sake of security.

10. Card Skimming

Some thieves use a skimming device. That device can be easily placed over a card reader on an ATM or a fuel pump and it looks like original. When somebody swipes a debit or credit card at a compromised machine then skimmer reads the information from the card's magnetic stripe and either stores it or transmits it. A criminal can then use this information to make purchases or for any other activity.

How Identity Theft Can Affect You

Once a thief has your information, they can do so many things with it, including:

  • Open fraudulent credit cards.
  • Use your existing bank or credit card accounts to make unauthorised purchases.
  • Sell it to other thieves.
  • File a fraudulent tax return or steal your tax refund.
  • Access your financial accounts and steal your money.
  • Commit child identity theft using your child's information.

Depending on what type of theft that occurs and how the criminal uses the information identity theft can result in immediate loss in finance and damage to your credit and emotional distress. It may take anywhere from less than a day to so many months or even years to resolve the issue.

If you work on recovering from identity theft then you may end up dealing with late payments, medical bills, and IRS penalties requiring investigations and long-term assistance and if you are a tax identity theft victim. It may result in losing account access and having your personal accounts taken by the thieves and general loss of data privacy.

How to Check for Identity Theft

You can’t completely avoid the possibility that your identity may be stolen, but you can take action to spot potential fraud before it becomes a major problem.

For checking identity theft, keep one eye on your credit reports. While you can view for free every 12 months through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can view a summary of your reports more regularly through so many free and paid credit monitoring services.

As you check your report please watch for trade-lines that you forget to open. Also, keep one eye on your credit score - a sudden inexplicable drop can be a dead giveaway that something is wrong.

Here are some other telltale signs that someone may have your identity:

  • You aren't receiving important mail such as bills or checks.
  • You get bills for items that you didn't order or statements for credit cards that you didn't sign up for.
  • You’re denied credit despite having an excellent credit rating.
  • You have unauthorised bank transactions or withdrawals.
  • You've received notice that your personal information may have been compromised in a data breach.
  • Your electronic tax filing is denied.
  • You receive unauthorised authentication messages by text or email for unknown accounts.
  • You get an email from an organisation that says your account has been recently accessed and it wasn't you.
  • You receive a bill or an explanation of benefits for health care that you didn't seek.

What to Do if You Think You're a Victim

If you think that you've fallen victim to identity theft then the most important thing have to do is to limit the potential damage. In case your credit card or debit card was stolen please contact the card issuer and your bank immediately - some banks may even allow you to lock your bank account through your mobile app until you can report the fraud.

After that double-check your credit reports with the three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) to confirm any type of unusual activity and get help dealing with the identity theft. If you find something is a miss, consider locking or freezing your credit.

Alternatively you can set a fraud alert which notifies the lenders that you've been a victim of identity theft so that they can take extra measures to verify your identity.

Identity theft is a crime so it is also a good idea to contact your local law enforcement agency. While authorities may not be able to do much they can take reports and be on the alert for suspicious behaviour that could involve your name or address.

Before you go to report the crime reach out to the Federal Trade Commission to file a report. The agency will provide steps you need to do and paperwork to file reports - including how to deal with police reports - and help you out dispute fraudulent charges.

Being a victim of identity theft is a harrowing experience ever. It can take several months and many hours of filling out forms and working with agencies and businesses to recover the identity that is stolen.

Other Types of Identity Theft

There are less common types of identity theft - and you should know them :

  • Child ID Theft - Children’s IDs are extremely vulnerable. It’s hard to detect the thief for several years. By the time they become adults the damage already has been done.
  • Tax ID Theft - Thieves commonly use your Social Security number to falsely file tax returns with the IRS or state government.
  • Medical ID Theft - Someone could even steal your Medicare ID or health insurance member number to receive medical services. It could also trigger fraudulent billing to your health insurance provider.
  • Senior ID Theft - Mostly ID theft schemes will target seniors only who are in frequent contact with medical professionals or caregivers who have access to personal information or financial documents.
  • Social ID Theft - Whatever is on your social media platforms - your name, photos and other personal information - can be used to create a false account.

How to use AI to fight identity fraud

It’s no secret that identity fraud is a growing so fast and become a problem: A record shown that 16.7 million US adults experienced identity fraud in 2017 and marking an 8% increase from the year before according to Javelin's 2018 Identity Fraud study.

The amount of fraudulent transactions, massive data breaches and instances of identity theft continues increase. Hackers and fraudsters become more sophisticated. ID scanning solutions have various strengths. Some simply scan an ID’s barcode whereas more robust software performs forensic and biometric tests to ensure that an ID is not forged.

Conclusion

Many types of identity theft are discuss here. One way is to continually check the accuracy of personal documents or personal data and promptly deal with any discrepancies. Lots of businesses provide products that help people avoid the effects of identity theft. These services provide information helping people to safeguard their personal information, monitor public records, as well as private records such as credit reports to alert their clients of every transactions and status changes. They also provide assistance to victims to help them resolve problems associated with identity theft. In addition some of the government agencies and nonprofit organisations provide similar assistance, typically with websites that have information and tools to help people to avoid, remedy and report incidents of identity theft.

Identity thieves mostly use computer technology to gain other people's personal information for identity theft. To find such kind of information they always search the hard drives of stolen or discarded computers. So they hack into computers or computer networks and access computer-based public records. So that they can use the information gathering malware to infect computers. They browse social networking sites and use deceptive emails or text messages to steal your identity.

Resources

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Credit_card_fraud
  2. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/what-is-identity-theft/
  3. https://www.debt.org/credit/identity-theft/
  4. https://techbeacon.com/security/how-use-ai-fight-identity-fraud
  5. https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/malware
  6. https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/online-safety-basics/spam-and-phishing/
  7. https://zenmate.com/academy/wifi-hacking-explained
  8. https://www.debt.org/credit/identity-theft/
  9. https://techbeacon.com/security/how-use-ai-fight-identity-fraud
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Identity Theft: Process, Ways And Effects. (2021, August 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/identity-theft-process-ways-and-effects/
“Identity Theft: Process, Ways And Effects.” Edubirdie, 18 Aug. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/identity-theft-process-ways-and-effects/
Identity Theft: Process, Ways And Effects. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/identity-theft-process-ways-and-effects/> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Identity Theft: Process, Ways And Effects [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 18 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/identity-theft-process-ways-and-effects/
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