In this article I will write about what identity theft is and tips to protect yourself. These are not what I have been consulting with security consultants, but some might be useful for you too.
Moreover, I will write a story about it what could happen with you or everyone in the world, so be very cautious with people and anyone who send you anything, and at the same time do not be too suspicious about people and do not isolate yourself from them. If you ever had bad experiences or you have been scammed then not easy to trust again, but do not start to isolate yourself from others, because that is not a solution either.
However, if different things happen and signs come up, then you might be in the foreplay of identity theft, and most people have no idea where to report it, because not everyone realize that different signs can be connected and you are in a much bigger play than what others would think as separate cases.
A normal life
Read about people who reported these kind of signs so have some idea…
Imagine you have a fairly normal life, you went to schools, university, you are working, have a relationship etc. Somehow you lose your job and lose relationship in that phase of life and you were staying alone. You started to work in a digital work which means you need to handle your finances mostly digitally and your things too.
So imagine you have an e-mail address you use since years, but then once you get a link click on it, and someone get into your phone/notebook and you get under surveillance.
That means you see as if someone would screenshot your phone from time to time, when you are reading something, or when you send private e-mails, messages, pictures, etc. EVERYTHING.
Imagine someone see everything about you and you see only the first signs of it first and you do not understand why your phone behave in a weird way (screenshoting itself or downloading the same page twice). Imagine someone able to download everything about you and whatever happens with you and can threaten you later on.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a type of crime in which someone wrongfully acquires and uses another person’s personal information, for example their name, social security number, e-mail, credit card information, OTP, passwords or other identifying details, usually for financial gain.
The individual whose identity is stolen may suffer various consequences, including financial losses, damage to their credit score, and other serious issues.
Identity thieves use various methods to obtain personal information, for example
- phishing emails,
- hacking into databases,
- stealing physical documents, or
- even posing as legitimate entities to trick individuals into providing sensitive information.
Once they have the necessary details, they can
- open fraudulent bank accounts,
- apply for credit cards,
- make unauthorized purchases, or
- engage in other illegal activities using the victim’s identity.
Protecting personal information, being cautious online, regularly monitoring financial statements, and using strong passwords are some measures individuals can take to reduce the risk of identity theft.
If someone suspects they are a victim of identity theft, it’s crucial to report the incident to law enforcement and take steps to mitigate the damage, for example
- contacting financial institutions and
- credit reporting agencies.
- what if law inforcement do not care about you or your reported case?
- what if you do not get any help from anyone?
Obviously you need to be more cautious.
For example not giving out your CVC number it means CVC should be masked everywhere online, if you want to buy something and the CVC number is not masked then even if your browser can have malicious code, or the site not working well you have to report to the site, and maybe authorities.
CVC code is something what you have on your physical card if anyone has it with your personal data then they can use your card, because not every financial institutions have enough security measures when you pay.
Imagine you want to buy something and do not have anything on your card because it has been stolen.
If you write your e-mail passwords unmasked it means someone might has access to your e-mail, and if your e-mail connected to a sign-in into your laptop then they have access to everything you have. So try to use passwords and type them masked.
Imagine someone see all of your SMS then even One Time Passwords (OTP) and Security Codes have no sense.
Imagine someone have your
- card data,
- all of your personal data (name, expiary date, e-mail),
- your CVC,
- if not masked your password too,
and because of a malicious link they might get access to your phone tooy
- they might see your SMS too.
and if someone own those data and access then they can use your full identity.
Imagine you are paying and the security measures you get used to not working anymore so for example your other code what you should knowing only you see unmasked.
What will you do? You do not care or start to report to all of the companies which handle this system, because let’s say you want to buy something through Google or Apple pay, with your bank card, then your card might be already connected to Google or Apple pay, but your code what you need to verify yourself need to type in in the last steps.
You need to report it to every company which handle the payment process which can be the
- the site where you would want to order/buy something,
- the company which between the site from where you order and site (banking) where you are paying, and
- the site in which you need to write down your confirmation codes.
Which means you need to report your problem to 3 sites directly, and to the authorities as well. They can say it is not their business, however if that can happen 100 000s or a million times then seriously it is their problem too. Not just yours.
Maybe you do not know but people can use your phone number by using VOIP and masking their own number with yours.
How do I know this? I read and heared about people whose number been used by someone else.
What does this mean?
That someone can call someone else and pretend they are you. Imagine someone calling you as your kid or parents, and you do not realize the voice so well that can be very dangerous.
What to do?
Start to watch out for your own security, because your life might depends on others and if you are not useful for them or build something and then they want it then what?
You are just a TOY.
They just do not care and get your identity tomorrow?
- use e-mails services which more secure for example: Protonmail, which ask biometric access if you set up and not integrated with any other app.
- Don’t have a banking app on your phone because even you get a push biometric identity request when you are sleeping and not even using your phone or the banking app, so someone could do this somehow too.
If you need
- a secure e-mail, use Protonmail or any other secure mailing system.
- Don’t have mobile bank app on your phone.
- If someone ask CVC unmasked like a site then report it and ask why is that happening and if they not solve then report it to legal entities.
Would you want to build a life on systems which not guaranteeing that your identity won’t be stolen tomorrow?
As I don’t.
Read more about it here: https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/
Warning signs of identity theft
Some other signs from the US gov.
You may not know that you experienced ID theft immediately. Beware of:
- Bills for items you did not buy
- Debt collection calls for accounts you did not open
- Information on your credit report for accounts you did not open
- Denials of loan applications
- Mail stops coming to, or is missing from, your mailbox
The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has introduced both innovative solutions and new challenges, and one concerning issue is its potential involvement in identity theft.
AI technologies can be utilized by malicious actors to automate and enhance various aspects of identity theft, from data mining to creating sophisticated phishing attacks. Machine learning algorithms analyze large datasets to pinpoint vulnerabilities and extract personal information more efficiently.
Additionally, AI-powered deepfake technology poses a threat, enabling the creation of realistic fake identities for fraudulent purposes.
As AI continues to advance, it is crucial for cybersecurity measures to evolve in tandem.
Implementing AI-driven cybersecurity solutions, for example
- anomaly detection and
- behavior analysis,
becomes essential to detect and prevent sophisticated identity theft attempts.
Moreover, raising awareness about the risks associated with AI and identity theft, coupled with educating individuals on safe online practices, is key to maintaining a secure digital environment.
Fintech and identity theft
As financial technology (fintech) continues to revolutionize the way we manage and access our finances, it brings new challenges, particularly in the realm of identity theft.
The convenience of
- online transactions,
- mobile banking, and
- digital wallets created an environment where personal information is frequently exchanged and stored electronically.
Unfortunately, the digital landscape become a prime target for identity thieves.
It is crucial for individuals to
- remain vigilant and
- adopt robust security measures to protect their sensitive information.
- multi-factor authentication,
- regularly monitoring financial statements, and
- utilizing secure, unique passwords are essential steps in safeguarding against potential threats.
Fintech users should stay informed about the latest cybersecurity practices and be cautious of phishing attempts. By proactively addressing these concerns, individuals can enjoy the benefits of fintech innovation while minimizing the risks associated with identity theft.
29th November 2023
On 30th November 2023, Reuters reported that 11 of the world’s biggest tech companies sign agreement with the UK government on Thursday to step up efforts to tackle online fraud according to the interior minister of the UK.
“Fraud is now the most common crime in the UK, with online scammers targeting the most vulnerable in society. By joining forces with these tech giants we will continue to crack down on fraudsters, making sure they have nowhere to hide online” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement.
Read more about it here.