Identity Theft

Identity Theft

One common form of cybercrime is identity theft. It happens when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception; usually money is a motive. Identity thieves can use different tactics to try get someone’s personal information online.

Some include:

  • Pharming method- where scammers try to get personal/private information from users by directing them to false, bogus, – or ’spoof’ – websites which look legitimate in their web browser.
  • Phishing method-used to gain personal information, usually by means of fraudulent emails.
  • Smishing is a scam where fraudsters send fake text messages that appear to be from people or places that are familiar to the victim.
  • Spoofing method-where attackers replace or change the originating mobile number (Sender ID) of to another number of their choice, then pretend to be someone else.
  • Online scams – Victims may be tricked into sharing passwords or visiting inappropriate websites by online scams promising prizes or money.

Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are three main ways to do it:

(1) Know who you share information with and ask questions before deciding to share your personal information. Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. If a company that claims to have an account with you sends email asking for personal information, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site, and contact them through customer service. Or, call the customer service number listed on your account statement. Ask whether the company really sent a request.

(2) Store and dispose of your personal information securely. Shred documents so that others cannot get your personal data.

(3) Maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices.

Learn more about Identity Theft (PDF).
Here is a short video on what to do if your email has been hacked: Consumer Guide
Additional resources on this topic can be found in the cybercrime resource directory tab.