Identity Theft Awareness Week — What is Identity Theft?
What would you do if you found out that someone stole your identity? Would you go after the culprit or brush it off and move on?
The Identity Theft Awareness Week this 2023 starts today, from January 30 to February 3. The event focus on how to reduce your risk and fight back against identity theft.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information (such as your name, address, credit card number, etc.) without permission to perform criminal or fraudulent activities. Identity theft comes in many forms, some examples include credit card fraud, medical fraud, and driver’s license fraud, but there are many more.
In 2022, 4.95 billion people worldwide have access to the internet and due to the effects of the pandemic, more and more people are relying on the internet, scammers have plenty of chances to devise their schemes to get their victims’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII). We also learned that scammers are switching their tactics from their traditional identity fraud, in which the victims usually are clueless about how the scammers get their info to a new scheme where identity fraud scams happen when a victim directly receives phone calls, email, or text messages from a shady source convincing us into giving away our PII details.
Types of Identity Theft
- Financial Identity Theft: Occurs when scammers illegally access your bank and credit card accounts. Warning signs are strange charges on your credit card, calls from debt collectors about purchases you didn’t make, and being locked out of your own online bank account.
- Medical Identity Theft: This occurs when someone uses your health insurance information or someone else's identity to claim medical services, acquire prescriptions, or use your health insurance benefits. Warning signs are unexpected medical bills, unexpected entries in your medical record, and insurance that was already claimed.
- Children Identity Theft: Children's identities are actually easier to steal, they usually won't find out about it until they apply for a driver's license or student loan. Warning signs are the child already has a credit report, is denied government benefits, and starts receiving weird credit card offers.
- Other types of Identity theft: There are many types of identity theft based on how scammers steal the info and the identity of the victim.
- Identity Cloning
- Elder Fraud and Estate
- Phone scams
- Account Takeover (Social Media, Email, Etc.)
- Wire transfer
- Driver’s license
- Crypto Account Takeover
- Online shopping
- Biometric ID Theft
Tips to Secure your Personal Info
Monitoring services will only let you know after something has gone wrong with your personal information. Check out these tips so that you can make it much harder for identity thieves to scam you.
- Use unique passwords on all websites. Install a reliable password manager such as Trend Micro Password Manager to help you generate strong passwords and store them in a safe place.
- Add Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to your accounts, enabling this feature will enhance security.
- Secure your personal information, online security, and privacy. Level up your protection with Trend Micro ID Security.
- Do not click links in unknown text messages, emails, and untrusted websites. Check suspicious messages with Trend Micro Fraud Buster for free.
- Avoid scanning unknown or random QR codes.
- Check your credit reports regularly.
- Monitor financial and medical statements.
- Protect your devices. Install a good antivirus program like Trend Micro Maximum Security for your PC and Trend Micro Mobile Security for mobile devices.
- Before disposing of, shred any documents with personal and financial information.
- Use alerts for all banking and account activities.