Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, usually for financial gain. There are many different ways that people can fall for ID theft on the internet, and people must be educated on how to prevent this from happening to them.
It is easy for people to fall for ID theft now a days on the internet. This is because all of your personal information is out on the web for people to see. Websites such as Facebook are an easy place for people to look and find all the basic information about yourself, anywhere from your full name, to your email, to even your home address can be found on this one website, making it easy for someone to gather the basics for stealing your identity.
Another way the internet makes it easy for people to steal from you is online banking. By losing your laptop or smartphone, you might be giving people access to all your bank account information, making it easy for them to move and steal money from that person. By letting your computer remember your password for all this personal information, you are at a greater risk to have this information stolen. It is best to change passwords often and not let your computer remember it for the most security.
A final way that people fall for ID theft is that they trust people too much online. People write reviews for websites, apps, programs, and other downloadable things all the time online, and people often trust these peoples opinions without really knowing who these people really are. This makes it possible for people to write fake reviews to help convince you to download something to your computer that could have a virus attached, and can steal your personal information right from your computer. Make sure that the reviews that you are reading online are from a reliable source that you can trust. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/07/21/3-ways-consumers-fall-victim-to-identity-theft?page=2
Between the years of 2005-2010, identity theft crimes have risen by 50%. This is partially due to the huge increase in people shopping online. With people inputting all their credit card information and their home shipping address, computer hackers are able to hack a site such as Amazon and steal the shoppers personal information. If ID theft continues to grow at this rate, it will quickly pass up any other kind of theft and become the leading crime in the US. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2013/04/14/identity-theft-growing/2082179/
There are many other types of ID fraud. One of the other main form people use is tax fraud. People may receive a fake email pretending to be coming from the IRS asking for all their tax information. You are supposed to contact the IRS to make sure that the email is credible before you send in your information.http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Scams-Consumer-Alerts
Prior to 1998, crimes that now be considered ID theft were charged under “false presentation”, which is the crime of falsely assuming the identity of another to gain a benefit or avoid an expense. In 1998 Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, which made ID theft an official federal crime.
The ID Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act accomplished four things. The first was that it made ID theft a separate crime against the individual whose ID was stolen and credit destroyed. Before this act was passed, victims had been defined solely by financial loss and the emphasis was on the banks, rather than the individuals.
The next thing the act did was establish the Federal Trade Commission as the Federal Governments one central point of ntact for reporting instances of ID theft by creating the ID theft Data Clearing House. It also increased criminal penalties for ID theft and fraud. Specifically the crime now carries a maximum 15 years in jail as well as fines.
The final thing the act did was close legal loopholes, which previously had made it a crime to produce or possess false ID documents, but not to steam another personals ID information. http://ojp.gov/ovc/pubs/ID_theft/idtheftlaws.html
There are several clues that you can look for when you are worried you are a victim of ID theft. The first is if you see unexplained withdrawals from your bank account. This should be a major red flag and you should contact your bank to let them know you are you are not making the transactions. Another major clue is that you are not getting your bills in the mail anymore. If merchants are refusing your checks and they are bouncing, then it is possible that someone has taken your ID and is hurting your credibility.
Some other things that could happen are if you are getting random calls and notices from debt collectors calling about debts that you do not remember making. Also if you see unfamiliar accounts on your credit report you might be a victim if your identity being stolen. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0271-signs-identity-theft
There are many things you can do to prevent your ID from being stolen. The first thing is to only carry essential documents with you. By carrying documents like your Social Security Card or birth certificate, you are at a huge risk of having your identity stolen. If you lose either of these documents, and they fall into the wrong hands, then it would be very easy for them to steal your information.http://www.usa.gov/topics/money/identity-theft/prevention.shtml
Another thing you can do is to keep new checks out of the mail. Your paychecks have a lot of valuable information about your identity, including the last for digits of your SSN, your full name, and your address. Using direct deposit is a good way to prevent this. You should also be careful to who you give your personal information to as well. Fake websites always ask for credit card information, your email, and other information that can be used to steal your identity.http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/how-to-prevent-identity-theft.page
People can be effected around the world from ID theft, since anyone with internet can be effect. Countries like Germany, England, and other EU countries have similar guidelines when it comes to preventing ID theft.
There are several things that websites are coming up with to help prevent identity theft happening to their users. The first is to have two step verification. A study by McAfee found that 37 percent of people use the same password for for multiple accounts, which makes it really easy for hackers to get into several of your accounts. Two step verification adds an additional layer of protection. It requires users to have an extra credential, beyond just a password, to access an online account. It usually requires a user to know something, specific about the person who owns the account.
Another major innovation is biometric technology. This is becoming added into peoples every day devices. The most recent would be the iPhone 5s, which started using a finger print scanner to unlock the phone. This will become more relevant in the future with personal devices. http://www.identityprotection.com/education/protect-yourself/technology-that-can-help-prevent-identity-theft
What is it Phishing is when someone sends you a fake email and asks for your personal information. They will most likely ask you for your banking information. it is important to check the validity of these emails, and to not give them your information unless you are positive it is a legitimate website.
How to Deal with it You can prevent phishing by deleting all your old emails and text messages. You should block these email addresses and phone numbers to prevent them from contacting you again. It is important that you do not reply to these emails, because it is possible to get a virus from opening these emails on your computer. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing
Phishing Attacks on Amazon Amazon, one of the biggest online retailers, has fallen victim to several phishing attacks. One of the biggest attacks was by AppRiver. What happened was over 600,000 customers received a fake email, pretending to be from Amazon, saying that their order has been dispatched, and gives them a fake tracking number for their shipment. After you open the email, it would install a virus onto your computer and begins to steal all of your personal information that is on the computer. http://www.csoonline.com/article/2846438/malware-cybercrime/amazon-phishing-attacks-pick-up-for-holiday-shopping-season.html
How to Prevent it You are able to prevent phishing from happening by guarding against spam emails by sending them to the spam/block folder. You should only communicate personal information over the phone or through secure websites that you know can be trusted, such as your banking website or government sites. Making sure all files that you download are safe and do not contain any viruses in them. Finally you should not email personal or financial information to people, even if you know who the person is. This is because it is very easy to hack into the your email and steal this information. http://www.identitytheftkiller.com/prevent-phishing-scams.php
What is it Pharming is an attacker’s attack intended to redirect a website’s traffic to another, bogus site. Pharming can be conducted either by changing the hosts file on a victim’s computer or by exploitation of a vulnerability in DNS server software. DNS servers are computers responsible for resolving Internet names into their real IP addresses. Compromised DNS servers are sometimes referred to as “poisoned“.
Methods of Attack The first way of attack is DNS cache poisoning. This happens when the site that you want to go to is changed with a site that will be fake and ask you for your personal information. The host file that you are using too can be modified and direct you to another fake site that will also try to ask you for your personal information. http://resources.infosecinstitute.com/pharming-attack/
Prevention There are many different ways to prevent pharming from happening. First is to use a trusted internet service provider. By using major companies such as ATT or Comcast, you are less likely to be hacked, since these companies have better security systems than smaller, lesser known companies. You should also make sure that the web address bar is spelled correctly. This is a key indicator that you have been directed to a fake website. In the web address, look for “https” instead of “http” when dealing with personal information. This is because the “s” means that the website is secure, and safe to give out your information. You can also look for a padlock or key at the bottom of your web browser, because this represents that the website is secure. http://securityresponse.symantec.com/norton/clubsymantec/library/article.jsp?aid=cs_prevent_pharming
One of the most popular ID theft cases took place in Charlotte, North Caroline on April 24, 2014. Senita Birt Dill and Ronald Jeremy Knowles were sentenced to 324 and 70 months in jail, and both were ordered to pay $3,978,211 in restitution to the IRS. Dill and Knowles both plead guilty to ID theft. They obtained personal information to file false tax returns. Between the two of them they 1,000 false tax returns using the fraudulent names they obtained. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/IRS%E2%80%99s-Top-Ten-Identity-Theft-Prosecutions
ID theft is a growing problem around the world. It can affect anyone who has a internet connection and online accounts. There are many different ways ID theft including stealing peoples credit information, routing them to fake websites, or sending emails that have viruses in them that can steal information off your computer. There are several things that can be done to prevent this from happening though, such as having an antivirus software on your computer or varying your password from account to account.
Since the late 1990's the government has been stepping up the security to help people who have fallen victim to this issue, but it is a serious growing problem in the United States, as well as around the world. It is important that people are educated on the subject and take the necessary steps to help protect themselves.