Credential theft is basically where a person’s identity and personal information (i.e., log-in information) get “stolen.” Once an attacker has the person’s identity- they obtain the same privileges as the person whose identity they stole. Attackers typically do this to obtain monetary gain. Let’s find out how to remain safe and protect ourselves!
Common Types of Identity Theft
Common types of identity theft include but are not limited to:
Financial Identity Theft:
One person utilizes another person’s credentials for monetary gain. This may occur like so:
- Attackers may utilize credit card information to make purchases
- Funds may be stolen from your bank account
- Attackers may open new accounts via one’s Social Security Number
Medical Identity Theft:
An attacker poses as another person to obtain said person’s medication or health services:
- An attacker may obtain a prescription for certain drugs
- Access medical services one may have (i.e., surgeries, checkups)
- An attacker may obtain medical aid accessories (i.e., wheelchair, cane, braces)
Criminal Identity Theft:
This theft occurs when a person utilizes a different person’s name instead of theirs when they’re in law enforcement custody. People performing this theft typically create fake IDs or utilize stolen ones. If someone is innocent and their name has been utilized against them, they could face such actions:
- Receiving a summons
- A bench warrant is issued for the innocent person’s arrest
- A background check is issued
Synthetic Identity Theft:
This newer form of identity theft revolves around attackers taking a bunch of people’s information (SSN, DOB, addresses) and using that information to create a fake identity.
Basically, the attacker takes real people’s data and credentials to make fake identities.
Why Identity Theft May Occur
- Public wi-fi networks
- Discarded documents containing personal information
- Data Breaches
- Lost or stolen debit/credit cards
- Social engineering scams
Ways To Tell If An Attacker May Have Stolen Your Identity
Warning signs of identity theft include but are not limited to:
- Fraud alerts from financial institutions
- Spontaneous changes in one’s credit score
- Changes to one’s financial account (s)
- Loan or credit card application is denied, assuming the applier had no valid reason to be rejected
- Phone calls from debt collectors
- Unfamiliar mail
- Experiencing tax return
Methods To Prevent Identity Theft:
- Be wary of phishing attacks
- Verify virus alerts
- Keep your software up to date
- Be wary of phone scams
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