I made an infographic on identity theft:

Identity theft

When thieves steal your personal information for harmful or inappropriate intent using your name. It can happen online or in the real world.

Social Impacts

Privacy and anonymity: People’s identities and personal information can be released their information to the public or their information can be used for their benefit.

Security: People’s names can be unknowingly be placed under the list that could risk their safety because someone used their identity to take part in criminal activities.

IT System involved

Database: Collection of related data, stored in an organised manner so that can be retrieved.

Facts about identity theft

In 2017, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud, about $16.8 million were stolen in that year. People have been stealing identities through:

  • Phishing: an email can come from a well-established company asking for details but is actually a thief.
  • Shoulder surfing: spy on what the user is entering, can be through cash machines and can look at the pin numbers.
  • Picking pockets: thieves can steal identification cards and credit cards to take over identities.
  • Credit card cloning: uses a machine to clone a credit card to use the information on it.
  • New account fraud: Opens a new account using the person’s name which can cause monetary problems.

Preventing identity theft

There are steps that can be taken to ensure that the chances of having your identity stolen physically and digitally. Physically we can:

  • Keep your identification/social security number in a hidden location in your house so that it cannot be taken off you.
  • Shred financial document once read so that thieves cannot steal it from your rubbish bin
  • Check your credit report monthly to check for any unusual behaviour
  • Change your pin number for your credit card every 6 months

Digitally we can:

  • Don’t give out personal information to emails that are sent to you unless you started the conversation with the other user.
  • Use trusted security companies to protect your devices or see if you are at risk of having your identity stolen (such as LifeLock)

Defending identity theft

If your identity has been compromised by thieves, these steps should be taken:

  • Place a fraud alert on your credit account with the bank.
  • Close the fraudulent accounts that have been taken over by the thieves.
  • File a police report so that the local authorities can look out for you.
  • Contact your government agency whether it may be the financial or internal affairs agency to report the crime.
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