Identity Theft Protection


Identity theft occurs when an unauthorized individual accesses someone else’s personal identity and pretends to be that individual. This usually occurs in matters regarding finances, such as signing up for services using someone’s social insurance number, or by withdrawing money from an individual’s account without their authorization.

With the rise of internet banking and online shopping services, identity theft has become a much larger problem than previously. Hackers use specific programs that can steal credit card information and important documents. The malicious software programs are not difficult to use, which means that a hacker can gain access to your personal information with relative ease.

Identity Thieves

There are many different techniques used by identity thieves in order to gain access to your personal information. Some of the techniques are less sophisticated than others. For example, going through dumpsters in search of financial statements or documents has always been one way to carry out identity theft. The information can also be obtained by going through an individual’s mail.

However, the internet has made it easy to obtain a person’s credit card or personal information without the thief having to leave their house. In phishing schemes, a thief may send out emails or text messages that appear to be from legitimate financial institutions. The emails will usually ask for things like credit card numbers and other private banking information.

More experienced computer hackers may also hack into large databases that contain sensitive information, such as social security numbers and credit card information. Another common way more computer savvy thieves access your personal information is by infecting your computer with spyware such as Trojan horse keystroke logging.

Woman with multiple name tags with different names

Individual Protection

There are many different ways that individuals can protect themselves against identity theft. A good place to start is to ensure that you never give out personal information online or over the phone when you are not completely confident that you are speaking with an authorized individual. It is important to be cautious with social media platforms as well by ensuring that none of your private information is displayed on these websites.

If you tend to make a lot of purchases online or complete other banking transactions online, it is a good idea to ensure that your web browser’s security features are kept up to date. It is also wise to install a virus protection program, and to ensure that the updates are installed regularly.

If you still receive most of your banking and financial statements in the mail, it is important to use a shredder to discard of old statements. This will ensure that your private information is not accessed by individuals who may go through your garbage in search of these documents.

Organizational Protection

Corporations and government bodies must continually stay on top of protecting their databases since failure to do so will mean that thieves will have access to all of their clients’ sensitive information.

One area of particular concern is call recordings. Since many corporations record their calls for training purposes, if an individual is able to access these recordings, they will immediately gain access to all of their clients’ personal information. In addition, corporations should always maintain a high level of network security. This can be done by enabling password protection.

It is also wise for corporations to use encryption on laptops and hard drives that are used to store their clients’ personal information. This will help safeguard the information in the event that the device is lost or stolen.

Finally, much like individual protection, it is important for corporations to shred sensitive documents before disposing of them. This is an important protection method since large businesses and government agencies are easily targeted by thieves who are seeking sensitive information.