Have you ever received a call asking you to confirm your name and other personal details? Or, received a call from a spa reminding you of an appointment that you’ve never booked? And, then you discovered your credit card has been maxed out.
As in the case of the comedy movie ‘Identity Thief’ well that’s exactly what happened. I’m sure it wouldn’t be as amusing if it happened to you.
The reality is that pretending to be someone else to access your bank details to make purchases or take on your identity is easy with new technology.
In today’s world there are many different methods used by fraudsters to steal identities:
When a scam is sent to you with a request for you to provide your personal information. For instance, a typical case is where the scammer may pretend to be a company that you are familiar with, they send a request to update your personal information or to verify some personal data – identity is stolen.
By exploiting security weaknesses on your devices, hackers can easily access your personal information yet we are far from imagining that hackers can access our personal details via our mobile phone. And, with the expansion of social media and their inconsistent terms of confidentiality, your personal account can easily be hacked if you don’t consistently check and update your privacy details. Perhaps some of your friends may have received a suspicious message from you of which you’re not the author. This is how easily hackers can steal your identity and sometimes your life.
3. Remote access scams
A scam is emailed and addressed to you and requires a certain amount of money to obtain a service that you actually don’t need. Meaning, fraudsters use the phone to penetrate your computer system. They then call and introduce themselves as computer technicians for a well-known company to obtain your personal information. They then pretend that your computer has been affected by a malware or viruses using the ‘fear’ tactic that you’ll lose your data – you may end up paying for software that you actually don’t need.
4. Malware & Ransomware
Software is installed on your computer, unbeknown to you, which allows hackers to access your computer and watch your online activities. From this point, hackers can easily access all your files and personal details. Within a few clicks, your identity and files can be stolen.
5. Fake online profiles
The scammer elaborates a fake profile on a social media or a dating website and sends you a request to be a part of your social network. Have you heard about the recent Lavalife and Meetingpoint cases? A young lady defrauded more than $2 million from 7 men met through these dating websites. Pretending that her mother and child passed away, she could easily obtain her victims attention and money using luring images and profile information. She kept a diary with her victim’s personal details to keep track of the stories she told each person. Moral of this story: the soul mate that you were hoping to meet online may not be who they pretend to be!
6. Document theft
Fraudsters may access your private information via an unlocked mail box or utility bills, healthcare records that you may have thrown in the rubbish bin. As we may not all have a shredder, we tend to throw out receipts, utility invoices or other private documents in the bin. This could be the best place for fraudsters to collect your personal details.