Recognizing the Dangers of ID Theft Online

by Barbara J. Feldman on February 12, 2009

Identity theft has become a hot topic in the news recently and with good reason. There are thousands and thousands of families that suffer each year from the effects of identity theft. Millions of dollars are lost as well as all of the time and effort that went into earning those dollars. What is worse, there is a serious emotional component and effect that occurs when someone has an identity theft perpetrated against them. People say that they no longer feel safe communicating any information to others, they become suspicious of everyone, and wonder if they are being watched at all times.

With the invention of the Internet many of us have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of identity thefts. This is partly because the Internet provides a remarkable amount of freedom in terms of communication. We can click a button and send information across the world, which is great except that we don’t always know who we are sending the information to. So how can you recognize if you are in danger of identity theft? Read below about how to recognize some of the basic dangers of identity theft.

1. Watch for phishing scams. Phishing is a common form of identity theft that occurs when someone writes you an email asking for personal information. They usually try to fool you into thinking that they are your bank, the government, or your work. They ask for the information because they need it to prevent a problem or because they would like to involve you in some sort of potentially valuable investment. The best way to avoid phishing scams is to never, ever, communicate personal information through email. Also, be cautious of emails that ask you to look at particular websites or that direct you to them. These usually are leading you to a fake site that will ask for personal information.

2. Watch for cloned or fake sites. A cloned site is a website that has been copied from a legitimate site. It appears in many ways like the original and might also ask for the same information as the legitimate site. Fake sites appear to be legitimate, using copied graphics and text. The best way to avoid these sorts of sites is to only purchase things on secured, stable sites that you are sure are not copied. If you have any kind of guess about a site—you think that it looks a little funny—then do not purchase anything on that site or disclose any personal information to it.

3. There are several signs of spyware on a computer that should make you think twice. If your computer seems unnaturally slow or if it has many pop-ups appearing suddenly you might have a spyware problem. These are just a few of the signs, but if you notice them you should invest in some sort of spyware software. Otherwise companies and other individuals will be able to observe your purchasing habits. While in many cases this is fairly harmless, spyware could be used to gain information that could result in identity theft.

By knowing a few of the basic dangers associated with internet identity theft you can help to fight the war against this terrible problem. It doesn’t take much to protect yourself other than some basic education. Inform your friends and family about the danger as well—you never know if an identity theft occurring to someone you know could lead to an identity theft for you. Be smart and avoid the terror of identity theft.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Recognizing the Dangers of ID Theft Online." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 12 Feb. 2009. Web. 14 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1429/recognizing-the-dangers-of-id-theft-online/ >.