Identity Theft Through Computers and the Internet
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes. My days as an Information Security technician occurred at a time when identity theft was still in its infancy. The victims of identity theft are actually a surprisingly young group, demographically speaking. The highest rate of identity theft is occurring in individuals aged from their mid twenties to their mid thirties. And identity theft through computers and the internet accounts for a portion of these incidents annually. About one in every eight Americans experience Identity theft on computers and the internet each year. Identity theft on computers and the internet can occur through fraudulent requests for personal information and through online buying services that are not secure sites and by having your personal computer compromised by someone you know and trust. More recently, identity theft has been connected to the use of social networking sites like Facebook. Read on to learn how to protect yourself from this fast rising crime.
There are safeguards you can implement to reduce the chance of identity theft through computers and the internet. A majority of identity theft that is going on is by means of offline activities, like stealing wallets, checkbooks, credit cards, mail and other personal items that contain critical identification information. Identity theft that occurs through computers and the internet tends to happen very often when your own personal computer is breached.
You can reduce your chances of this happening to you by using passwords to log into your computer, even if you’re the only one using it, by changing your passwords on a regular basis and by not leaving your laptop open when unattended. These days, almost everyone has personal information stored in their computers. If you have selected “remember password” on a web site and someone goes to history and visits your frequently or recently visited sites that are linked to credit cards, other banking information and or electronic tax records, then you could be an easy mark for identity theft on your computer and the internet.
Although online identity theft is an ongoing threat to personal security, there are many companies developing and marketing software to counteract the threat called, anti-phishing software. Phishing is when someone uses the internet and sends an e-mail (spam) to a user making false claims to be a legitimate and recognized business entity in an attempt to scam the user into giving certain private information that can be used for identity theft through computers and the internet. Anti-phishing software may help, but is not a guarantee for protection, so make it your practice to keep your personal information secure to reduce your chances for identity theft on computers and the internet.
Another technique that malicious hackers and criminals use for identity theft on computers and the internet is spyware that gets into your computer and grabs lots of stored information including financial accounts, passwords and other critical information that will allow this individual access to your money and identity. So along with all the wonderful benefits that computers and the internet offer us in our daily lives, there is always, lurking out there in cyberspace, the possibility of identity theft on computers and the internet.
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