Identity Theft

5 Ways Identity Theft Ruins Lives

Identity Theft

Identity theft won’t replace you with a clone. Not in real life! Identity theft has bothersome to life-threatening implications. You may have to replace your wallet’s cards, but you may also have to battle to avoid jail time. Let’s look at how identity theft can affect your life and how identity theft prevention software can help.

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1. Credit card replacement

You can buy almost anything with a credit card today, but it’s risky. You don’t know if the server who took your card duplicated it or made an internet purchase while running your check. A dishonest online vendor could sell your card number and security code for $10. Yes, the merchant or waiter will likely be detected, but that doesn’t reduce the risk.

Card fraud would be a bigger issue if banks held you responsible for bogus charges. A portion of bank fees cover losses in exchange for your loyalty and trust. It’s annoying to replace a compromised card, especially if you need it for online subscriptions or invoices.
These safeguards only cover specific cards. Corporate and small business accounts aren’t always protected. You or your firm could be accountable for unauthorised payments if a thief steals your business credit card number.

2. Hackers could control your email

If your email password is weak or easily guessed, someone could take over your account. An email account takeover is more worse than someone reading your mails.

Hackers can take over financial accounts with access to your email. A thief can access your email and financial accounts if you used the same password. When hackers get the password for one account, they try it for others.

Even if you use your password manager’s password generator to create unique, strong passwords for every site, a hacker who owns your email can access your accounts. Secure sites must handle password forgetting. User can request a password reset link. Where do they get the link? In their inbox. If a thief uses that link to reset the password, you’re locked out.

Before issuing the reset link, many password reset systems ask the user to answer security questions. Typical security responses, like your mother’s maiden name, are easily discovered. Social media “let’s have fun and learn about each other” posts are for strange answers like your first car, high school mascot, or childhood street. You don’t need to submit a truthful or relevant answer to security questions during account setup; simply remember the misinformation you entered. Are you Obama? Yes!

A thief might also use your email account to send spam, perhaps running a spam-as-a-service business. Spam behaviour may get the account banned. The thief can steal another. You must clean up a polluted account.

3. Social media hacks are embarrassing

Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts need strong passwords, just like email. If you don’t, or if a hacker uses your hacked email to control your social media, you might be in major trouble or shame. Messages, images, and postings become public. Naked selfies?

Theft of your social media account compromises more than your privacy. More websites allow you login with Google, Facebook, Twitter, or another social network account instead of a username and password. Doing so gives identity fraudsters easy access to your social media account.

4. Stolen SSN might halt your life

SSNs are used more than any other identifier to identify people. The first three digits originally indicated your location, with low numbers in the east and high ones in the west. In 2011, the SSA moved to random numbers without geolocation. How is SSN protected? Nope.

All government and business papers, from tax returns to mortgages, require your SSN. In some circumstances, you just need to provide the last four numbers, but generally you give the regulating agency your complete SSN. If any of these businesses or government institutions are hacked, your SSN might be disclosed, even sold on the Dark Web.
When you sell the residence, you discover a lien. Who knows? Someone stole your SSN and didn’t pay. Unbeknownst to you, the victim placed a lien on your home.
This kind of data exploitation may not be discovered for years. The theft may require some research to uncover. A colleague’s acquaintance had to investigate why she couldn’t get a mortgage. Someone else used her SSN to get a mortgage, which was foreclosed.

5. Scammers can use scraped personal information

Did you believe the person in your recycling bin was looking for bottles and cans to recycle? They may have been seeking for bank statements, bills, and other PII.

A thief can open credit accounts in your name with your date of birth, SSN, address, and other information. The first bill for the new account will blow the plot, but a thief can have it sent to a phoney address. You won’t know about identity theft until a collector calls.

A debt collector may be your least concern. The police or FBI could knock with an arrest warrant. An identity thief who commits a crime as you can throw you in jail until you prove your innocence. Identity theft can stop you from claiming unemployment or stimulus funds.

Safeguard your identity!

After seeing what might happen if your identity is taken, check out our advice for being more safe online and protecting your identity. Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service that can help with recovery. Multi-factor authentication makes it tougher for someone to access your accounts, even if they have your password. If you’ve been hacked, we can help.

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