4 Things to Do When You’ve Faced Identity Theft Online

Our current level of technological development allows online users to get jobs on a different continent or communicate naturally with people miles away. We have instant access to information and easy access to technology but we’re also more exposed to risks than ever.

While being online browsing and using social media is something millions of people do every day, very few of them are aware of the many Identity Theft scams that run online (among others). According to the 2021 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, Americans lost around $56 Bn to ID fraud in 2020.

ID theft online is a sneaky thing because the victim doesn’t take notice until it’s too late to do anything to stop the damage. When they learn something is wrong, all they can do is try to mitigate the disaster. So, if you’ve faced ID theft and you’ve become a victim or believe you may be one in the future, here are the four main steps to take:

Identity Theft Online

1. Get Extra Protection

Start by checking all your accounts (banking, email, social media, and others). Change the current passwords and implement two-factor authentication on the ones that allow it. Also, check with your bank and let them know you think someone stole your ID.

Next, add an identity theft service that protects your digital and financial identity by setting up watchlists and services that monitor your most important accounts.

2. Put a Fraud Alert on your Credit Report

One of the biggest inconveniences of ID fraud is a damaged credit score. This can have long-lasting effects that continue even after you’ve dealt with most of the aftermath of being an ID theft victim.

Plus, a fraud alert on your credit report lets anyone checking it know something is wrong. So, in case someone uses your data to get online loans, apply for a job, or get a credit card, the fraud alert will warn them to stop the action and alert you (the owner).

To put a fraud alert, you only have to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies in the country. Since they share a database, once a fraud alert is placed by one of the agencies, it will notify the other two as well. A fraud alert is free and it lasts for one year (it can be prolonged) – it’s an easy-to-use protection method in case of emergency.

3. Check your Credit Card Reports & Your Accounts

Once you place a fraud alert, you’ll receive a free credit card report from each agency. Use these to look for evidence of fraud such as new accounts you didn’t apply for, employers you’ve never heard of, payments you’ve never made, and anything out of the ordinary.

Also, make sure to regularly check your accounts for vanishing amounts or transactions you haven’t authorized.

4. Talk to the Authorities

While there’s not much they can do until you are sure your identity has been compromised, they will provide guidance on the steps to take until then. You can also familiarize yourself with the process, in case fraud is confirmed (so you’ll be able to act fast).

In the US, you’ll have to report the event to the FTC and the police (in that order). Make sure you know what data to include in these reports so all your accounts are covered. Once this step is complete, you will have to start the long journey of contacting each agency, company, organization, and more that provide you a service or might be convinced to open new accounts or provide services in your name.

Wrap Up

ID theft is a lucrative line of business and even though there are many new technologies that could make a difference in the near future (like blockchain), for now, it’s best to practice caution when navigating online.

How To Raise Security In The Digital Space?

Recent world events related to Covid-19 have radically changed the lives of people around the world. Businesses have to adjust to rapidly changing conditions, and organizing remote work has become a serious challenge for many companies. In the wake of the pandemic, the surge in cybercrime has made this process even more difficult. Many entrepreneurs are deeply immersed in the processes of how to properly set up ads, buy real Instagram followers, store money on the exchange, but they neglect the security setting and do not know how to protect their accounts and online wallets from hacking. There is a basic set of rules which, if applied systematically, will ensure you a zone where there is no risk.


What are the types of cyber threats?

Statistically, people with the same occupation or lifestyle have approximately similar threat patterns. If a person is different from the general level, for instance, he is engaged in entrepreneurial activity, he will have different risks.

The most common tool of cybercriminals is malware. They create it themselves so that they can use it to damage the user’s computer, or disable it. Hundreds of thousands of bots scan the network for vulnerable systems, access with weak passwords, open databases, and send tons of spam with malicious attachments. Malware can be different. There are programs such as viruses that infect files with malicious code. In order to spread inside the computer system, they copy themselves. There are adware programs that can spread malware. Another type is spyware, programs that secretly monitor user actions and collect information, such as credit card data.

Hacker’s use this spyware to commit identity theft to leverage some form of financial gain. Identity theft victims should immediately contact their bank if they suspect their identity may be compromised. Once the bank has been notified victims can should consider credit repair specialist to help reverse the damage of identity theft on their credit scores. Credit repair specialist often offer free consultations and can be accessed online at sites like creditsage.com

It is very common for people to be targeted by phishing attacks, the purpose of which is to trick users into obtaining confidential information. In such attacks, criminals send emails to victims posing as an official organization. This activity generates billions of dollars from simple user inattention.

There are Man-in-the-Middle attacks, during which a cybercriminal intercepts data during its transmission. He becomes an intermediate link in the chain, and the victims do not even know about it. You can be exposed to such an attack if you connect to an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

How to improve cybersecurity?

First, use antivirus, even if you are a very attentive user, never install any third-party software, and the list of sites you visit is limited to a few very reliable ones. Your computer may be infected simply because your browser has installed plugins and someone knew they were vulnerable before the update was released. This is not the most common way of spreading malware today, but it does happen. Antivirus is an important security element and can prevent such threats.

Second, use strong passwords. The complexity of passwords directly determines their strength, so it is recommended to use long, random combinations of characters. That way, they can hardly be broken by the enumeration of different options and are not related to the user’s identity. Do not use the same passwords for all email accounts, social networks, and banking services. Ideally, there should be a different combination for each case. It is important to keep passwords in a safe place without free access, for example on a flash drive. Never store passwords in the cloud, and never confirm an action when the browser system asks you to save the password for the next login.

Third, always and everywhere use 2FA. These are one-time passwords that are generated every 30 seconds and are important to enter when you make any important operations. Thus, you have several codes that will be sent to your phone, to email, and from Google Authenticator. If you use them in tandem, this will guarantee maximum protection for any operations.

Fourth, use a VPN. In this way, your IP address changes, and you are inside the virtual network protected if you connect via Wi-Fi or other unprotected connections.

While there are great deals out there for individual VPNs, it takes a lot out of your wallet to secure your business. If you’re a bit short on cash for it, you can consider taking out a loan. You can always go to trusted lending platforms like GetCash. There, you will be able to be connected to trusted lenders for any financing needs you may have, including keeping your businesses safe.

How to avoid a social engineering attack?

At the word “cybersecurity” most people think of how to protect themselves from hackers exploiting technical vulnerabilities in networks. But there is another way to infiltrate organizations and networks – through human weaknesses. This is social engineering, a way to trick someone into revealing information or giving access to data. For example, someone who poses himself as a support employee might ask users for their passwords. Very often people voluntarily give this data, especially if they think that the request comes from an authorized person.

How To Ensure Digital Security

Social engineers often use the illusion of urgency in the hope that the victim will not think much about what is happening. So, just a minute of thinking can help you identify and prevent an attack.

Do not rush to provide data by phone or follow the link. Better call the official number or go to the official website. Use a different contact method to verify the source’s credibility. For example, if a friend asks for money in an e-mail, write or call him on the phone to make sure that the letter is really from him.

Think about your digital footprint. By publishing a lot of personal information on the Internet, you help attackers. To get started, you can view your pages on social networks and clear them of personal data that can be used by attackers: addresses, phone numbers, names and ages of children and parents, information about expensive purchases, and so on.

Social engineering attacks are extremely dangerous because they occur in completely ordinary situations. However, if you fully understand their mechanism and take basic precautions, you are much less likely to become their victim.

To sum up, the rules mentioned above will help you to know how to reduce the likelihood of cyberattacks. Remember that security is one of the fundamental aspects of digital hygiene, and it should not be neglected.