Identity fraud is rapidly evolving and this kind of threat affects almost anyone irrespective of their background and age. With cybercriminals becoming more and more innovative these days, we see them coming up with a lot of different ways to steal personal information. Identity fraud is one of the most common forms of problematic threats where cybercriminals use stolen information to carry out financial fraud and scam victims in other ways using stolen credentials.
The best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of identity fraud is by educating yourself and understanding how fraudsters scam people and steal their identities. This way, you can secure your identity and that of your family members and securely use the internet.
Here are a few common forms of identity fraud to watch out for.
One of the newest forms of identity fraud, synthetic fraud, involves creating new identities with the information of real people. Criminals use birthdates, addresses, IRD numbers, etc., they steal from real people to create fake new personas. They then use these fake personas to apply for loans, open bank accounts, and carry out other forms of financial and insurance fraud.
They do so to defraud individuals and financial institutions, as well. In most cases, cybercriminals obtain such information from the dark web or data breaches. Unlike traditional identity fraud, which involves using a specific victim’s identity to commit fraud, synthetic identity fraud involves creating an entirely new persona by mixing stolen identities.
Law enforcement and financial institutions find it extremely hard to identify this kind of fraud as it is not specific to just one person and cybercriminals use identities that are a mixture of identities of different people.
Its complicated nature makes it hard to prevent this kind of fraud. It is up to the individuals to keep their personal information safe online. They must make sure they do not share too much personal information online that can be stolen and used to commit financial fraud. It is crucial to be aware of this kind of fraud and make sure they do not respond to unsolicited phone calls, messages, and emails. It is mandatory to always verify the authenticity of the source before providing personal details.
Financial identity theft is one of the most common forms of identity fraud, where cyber criminals steal sensitive information, which includes email addresses, passwords, addresses, phone numbers, and more, to carry out financial fraud. Such criminals can use the credit card information they stole to make purchases and they can steal funds from your bank account little by little so that you do not notice.
You will realize that you have become a victim of financial fraud only when you see unexplained charges on your bank statement or receive calls from debt collectors. To prevent yourself from becoming a victim of financial identity fraud, you must make sure to get in touch with your bank immediately after you see an unexplained charge and report it. Likewise, make it a practice to regularly check your bank statements. It is crucial to keep your financial information private and never reveal it to anyone else.
One of the oldest forms of scams and also a popular kind of fraud, relationship scams are aimed at individuals looking for genuine relationships online as they feel lonely and left out. Cybercriminals use dating apps to create fake profiles with attractive photos and lure victims, which include well-educated individuals and affluent individuals, as well. In most cases, they spend even months with the victims creating a false relationship and making them believe that the relationship is real. Once they gain the trust of the victim, they share fabricated emergencies and try to trick them into sending money. Followed by that, they slowly obtain sensitive personal information, including login credentials and bank details from the victim. They then use that information to steal money or to apply for loans.
To avoid becoming a victim of this kind of fraud, it is mandatory to verify the identity of the person you meet online before you establish a relationship and share sensitive data. You can search for the person’s name online and check their social media profiles to ensure it is a real person and not a scammer.
This WhatsApp scam is aimed at WhatsApp users. Scammers send messages to unsuspecting WhatsApp users identifying themselves as their children or grandchildren and trick the users into sending them money. They send messages saying “Hello Mum” or “Hello Grandma,” claiming to be in a difficult situation and requiring financial assistance. They may claim to have lost their phones, stranded in an unknown place, or lost all their money and request the victim to transfer cash to a friend’s account.
The victim receiving the message might believe that their children or grandchildren are in a difficult situation and might send the requested cash immediately. Victims who fall for such scams will never see the money they send as it is only a fraudster who has asked for financial assistance and not their children or grandchildren. Avoid becoming a victim of this kind of fraud by cross-checking before you send money. Make sure to speak to the sender and verify their identity before you make a payment.
Many still use the same password for multiple accounts. This is viewed as a dangerous practice as cybercriminals can access all your accounts if they compromise just one account. This way, they can gain access to all your personal data. The best way to avoid becoming a victim of this kind of fraud is by using unique and hard-to-crack passwords. You can go for a password manager that suggests unique passwords to secure your accounts. You can use one such password manager to create different hard-to-crack passwords for your accounts instead of creating them yourself.
Enabling two-factor authentication is an excellent way to make your accounts more secure. Being aware of the latest methods scammers use to steal passwords and personal information is another way to prevent yourself from falling victim to such scams. It is also important to be cautious when responding to emails or messages requesting financial and personal information.
Identity fraud is pretty serious and it is mandatory to take the required measures to make sure you do not become a victim of identity fraud. You can keep your personal information secure and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of this kind of fraud by educating yourself on the latest trends in identity fraud.