Identity theft is not a new phenomenon but the advent of the internet, and following that, the dark web, has made taking other people’s identities and using them for illegal purposes increasingly common. This small guide to digital identity protection, provides the reader with some basic notions and ideas on how to tackle the sensitive topic of digital identity protection.
Do you Know If You Have Been A Victim of Identity Theft?
What would we do without our identity? Identity is a core and unavoidable part of all our lives. Something that resonates deeply inside. Our actions shape our identity, and in turn, our identity shapes our actions. But our identity is changing. In a world that’s increasingly governed by digital transactions and data, we all have now, a digital identity, resulting from our interactions on social media, for retail and banking or an email account. The bad news, is that digital identity fraud is also increasingly likely to happen, as dark net operatives can now, easily gain access to your personal details.
Identity fraud is described as the use of personal data in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception. Criminals can use your identity details to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards and order goods in your name. This is even more likely around times of festivities such as New Year Holidays or Valentine’s Day when people may do more online shopping than usual, leaving themselves exposed to greater risk.
Identity fraud is increasingly likely to happen, as dark net operatives seek to gain access to your personal details. This is even more likely to happen during holidays, when people may do more online shopping than usual, leaving themselves exposed to greater risk. One question people have on this subject is,
“How can I know if someone has stolen my identity?”
The good news is that if you do suspect that you have been a victim of identity fraud, or even if you do not, there are some tell-tale signs, put together by Experian that can help pinpoint this problem. Experian suggests that you are perhaps more likely to be at risk if you are of good financial standing, so this is not a problem that can be resolved by being better off – quite the opposite.
One sign that your identity has been stolen is post not appearing. If certain types of post such as bank statements or other official post does not turn up then there is a chance that someone is stealing it, and with it your identity. On the subject of bank and credit card statements, if these do appear but show items that you did not order or buy, then this is another sign that you have fallen victim to identity fraud. Being aware of what is going on in your bank account or with your credit card can help you see these problems quickly.Infographic by Maria Fonseca
Another sign of dark web identity theft is when you get contacted by a debt collection agency regarding purchases you did not make or accounts that you were not aware of. Telephone calls or letters that advise you of rejection for credit are also a sign. In these cases, it is highly possible that someone has stolen your identity, has opened accounts in your name and has not been paying them off. This is damaging in several ways, and not least because it can also damage your credit score and put a red mark against your rating. This could prevent you gaining access to credit in the future. If this situation occurs it is best not to shrug it off, but rather, do some more investigation with the agency that contacted you to get to the bottom of it.
Being aware of these types of problems put you in a better position regarding identity theft if it does occur. In this case you can get access to your credit report and look for details within it of transactions that were not yours that you can report. You may wish to report the incident to the police, and additionally to CIFAS Protective Registration Service – the latter of which can put an entry on your report to protect it. Keep details of any correspondence and cancel cards that you think were stolen and may have been used. In these ways, if the worst does happen, you can protect yourself.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.