Identity theft is a stranger to no one. When a thief is given the opportunity to take advantage of you, it is very difficult to catch the thief in the act, and therefore these individuals grow in numbers and are continually developing new tricks. As online identity theft is a relatively new type of crime, you need to make sure that you educate and arm yourself with the latest and best ways that you can protect yourself.
Below you will find just a few things that you need to know about online identity thieves. Knowing the tricks that thieves use and the weaknesses of ordinary people like you and I that thieves take advantage of, better prepares us to take action to protect ourselves.
Identity thieves are patient
Identity theft has many different faces. The easiest way for an identity thief to get a hold of your private information is through the Internet. Identity thieves frequent chat room conversations looking for someone who is reckless with the distribution of personal information that can be used to obtain more of their valuable information. For example, identity thieves will chat or instant message with their victims for months in order to gain their trust before asking for the information that they need to take advantage of you. Remember that you have no way of knowing the intentions of someone that you only know through online correspondence. Use extreme caution with the kind of information that you are willing to distribute and understand the increase in vulnerability that will result from such distribution.
Identity thieves have many tricks to manipulate
Identity thieves can pretend to be anyone. Identity thieves are cunning and will lie to manipulate you. Many times an identity thief will express interest in the same hobbies that you have and will use any other trick that they can to get close to you. As soon as you let your guard down they are ready to pounce on you for your information.
Identity thieves can hack into your computer
Identity thieves can hack into your computer through viruses hidden in e-mails or downloads. Danger from such viruses can easily be avoided. If you ever receive an e-mail from someone that you do not know, delete it without opening it. Sometimes identity thieves are able to mimic the addresses of contacts in your e-mail list so even familiar e-mails with attachments that you were not expecting can be dangerous. If you are not expecting a download from someone that you know or if you notice that something is out of the ordinary with your inbox, it is always better to err on the side of caution and delete or call your sender to confirm that the e-mail that they have sent is in fact safe to open.
It only takes a little information for a thief to do damage
Many victims of identity theft are surprised at how little information was needed by a thief in order to do so much damage. Online safety is particularly an issue as it is very difficult to have online conversations that are guaranteed to be private. Information such as your full name, birthday or city of residence can be plugged into different searches to find out even more information about you. Identity thieves are excellent investigators.
An identity thief could be anywhere
When you do not ensure that your computer is free of viruses and that you have working firewalls in place, an identity thief has the opportunity to be a sort of fly on the wall of your online and even offline activities. Make sure that your computer’s security features are in working order at all times.