Identity theft is a two-step process. First, someone steals your personal information. Second, the thief uses that information to impersonate you and commit fraud. Of course, stealing your personal information isn't the worst of the crime; it's the second part of this process that does the most harm: using your information to commit credit card fraud, mortgage and utilities scams; and leave you with emptied bank accounts.
Types Of Identity Theft
There are many different types of ways that identity theft can be performed. The most common way is through a data breach. A data breach occurs when a cybercriminal hacks into a company’s database and steals the personal information that it stores about their customers. The most popular industries being attacked are healthcare, retail, financial and the government. These types of data breaches are so popular because a cybercriminal can obtain massive amounts of personal information from hundreds to millions of people such as full names, social security numbers, health insurance information and more in one fell swoop.
There are smaller scale scams that aim to steal an individual’s personal information as well. Phishing is the most popular way to try to trick users into divulging sensitive information. Either by tricking you into providing it yourself, or by tricking you to install malware that automatically steals data from your computer.
How To Report Identity Theft
If you become an unfortunate victim of identity theft, there are many ways to report it. You can start by going to the Federal Trade Commission’s website. You can fill out the FTC online complaint form to start the process.
How To Prevent Identity Theft
Prevention is the best measure you can take for protection against this threat. You can help prevent identity theft by educating yourself. Explore the articles below to read all about the signs of ID theft, the tactics used by cybercriminals, and even learn how to monitor your credit.