Identity theft, commonly known as identity fraud, involves the use of other people’s details to perpetuate a vice without their knowledge.
The practice is widespread; as such, those who have fallen victim end up paying a high price.
The various ways in which criminals involved in identity theft have suffered is getting arrested for crimes they have not committed, getting blacklisted from using specific platforms or forums and, last but not least, losing their funds.
The magnitude of identity fraud will vary as not all have the same effects on a person. As mentioned above, some have more consequences than others.
It is also notable that other forms of identity fraud will not have any effect on the victim.
Due to the severity of the matter, the United States Department of Justice has taken measures to ensure Americans stay safe and avoid falling victim of the vice.
These measures include notifying people of how it occurs, what the consequences are, how to find out they’re a victim and the next cause of action in case they discover their identity has been stolen. The department also provides resources consumers can use to prevent such from happening.
The Department of Justice’s website lists a few of the most common ways that identity theft occurs. One is responding to spam emails that request personal information with the promise of a lucrative offer.
Another common cause is when consumers fail to dispose of their credit card information after acquiring a new card. In these cases, once third parties obtain the information, they can use it to siphon funds from a person’s account.
Identity theft can also occur when outlaws engage in continuous acts of espionage to try and get your information.
After the fugitive has obtained the personal information of the person, they can go ahead and perform some activities that negatively affect that person.
These activities include opening online accounts on various platforms, requesting for loans, making fraudulent bank withdraws, among many others.
For this reason, when a person has lost any private documents, then they should follow steps that will ensure their details are not used for fraud purposes. The steps followed will depend on the type of paper lost.
For instance, if it is a credit card, the bank should be notified with immediate effect so that they can block the card.
The primary reason is that the culprit may use the card details—such as the name of the person, the card number, the expiration date and card verification value (CVV)—to drain funds from the victim’s account.
Since the person might use the details to obtain loans, then filing a fraud report and obtaining credit reports will help in one way to prove the innocence of the victim in the future.
Other measures to follow include reporting the matter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for U.S. citizens and, most importantly, notifying law enforcement agencies.
Notifying the police in advance will enable one to come out clean in the event their details are used to perpetrate various types of criminal activities.
What then happens after notifying the authorities is the issuance of an OB number, which is sourced from the Occurrence Book.
Despite the fact that physically losing your identification information can lead to identity theft, it is not a significant threat as the more serious cases will often occur online.
Online identity theft is more of major concern as criminals are keen to employ hacking methods to compromise individual devices.
The practice of stealing other people’s personal details is through the act of cyber espionage, where the attacks infiltrate a device while the user is unaware. It is the owner of the device who gives them access due to ignorance about online safety practices, in most cases.
A person can download a virus in the form of malware, spyware or Trojan, through downloading files and applications from untrusted sources, clicking unknown links, opening attachments that are contaminated and visiting corrupted websites.
The practice gives hackers full access to the device the person is using.
This line of hacking happens to both computers and mobile devices running on different types of operating systems.
Among the most notable recent cases where Android devices were compromised was during the spread of the Xavier virus, a type of destructive malware that affected more than 800 Android applications.
Once a device is contaminated with a spyware, it feeds the developers with data after a specific time frame. The process is very discrete, and the owner is often completely unaware that their online safety has been compromised.
Since most smartphones users tend to use mobile applications to access their bank’s accounts and other important delivery services, the hackers can get the information they are using which will serve beneficial purposes to them.
Though carding, credit card scammers may obtain the information from the hackers to solicit funds from the persons account through a variety of online platforms.
The platforms used depends on the level of skill and experience of the carding masterminds.
It is more of like a collaborative process where a group of people who have mastered different arts come together and lay out a procedure of how they will obtain user details for the various criminal activities in which they engage.
The information is of great use to the outlaw, as it enables them to undertake activities that are of interest to them. And it is no doubt that hackers who have details of a person will dispose them on the dark web for others to purchase.
The funny bit is that the information can cost less than $20.
The price will, however, vary from time to time since others are for more sophisticated projects.
Various persons have occasionally been reported to lose access to their emails since some people have gained access to their documents and can get security answers which may enable them to change passwords.
It remains the responsibility of an individual to ensure that their details are not used for fraud purposes, as they are the ones to suffer most in the event identity theft occurs.
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