Common Types of Online Identity Thefts and How to Stop Them

Identity Theft refers to the act of unlawful use of someone’s personal details such as name, date of birth and other sensitive financial data. Although it is very difficult to entirely impersonate someone else, one is always at a risk of his/her personal data being stolen and being used to borrow loans, mortgages or accessing personal funds. With more than 20 million people in the US alone being exposed to identity related frauds and thefts, you do not want to be the next on the list. There are several types of identity related frauds that can be dealt with by a consumer law attorney, or whichever attorney is best fit for the case, but for more convenience, identity thefts have been organized into six distinctive categories.
1. Identity Cloning
Stolen personal details can also be used by the imposters to conceal their own identity. Such imposters can range from individuals escaping debts or illegal immigrants who want to conceal their identities from the authorities. 
2. Synthetic Identity Theft
Your stolen details can also be altered and be used to create a new identity. This often involves names, date of birth and social security numbers etc. from different sources to form a fabricated identity on paper. 
3. Financial Identity Theft
The most common type of identity fraud is when someone tries to borrow credit or loan with your personal details. Your bank account number, credit card details, social security numbers etc. are some of the most targeted details by the hackers and imposters. 
Online Identity Theft
4. Criminal Identity Theft
There are some instances when a criminal might impersonate another individual to prevent arrest by the police. This impersonation might include the use of Fake ID, against which all the charges are pressed. This is a serious issue as even though you are a victim to fraud, it would still reflect on your credit reports and can pop up in future investigations. 
5. Child Identity Theft
Next type is child identity theft. Not many people know the possibilities of frauds with the personal details of a minor. As a child’s details such as social security number etc. Do not have any associated information they are the most convenient target for thieves. A child’s personal details can be easily used to get new loans, credit cards, driver’s licenses and buying property. 
6. Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft involves a person using someone else’s name and details to seek medical assistance and treatment. This might not sound very serious but it can ruin your medical records and can also lead to financial loss. Although Medical identity theft is the least common, it can certainly leave a mark on your credit history and your medical records. 
How to Stop Identity Theft
There are several ways how you can protect your all your sensitive personal and financial data from being misused for unlawful activities. You can also do an online research on various tips against identity theft. Nevertheless, for your help we have listed some of the most essential preventive measures that you can follow. 

i) Activate Fraud Alerts

One of the best ways to prevent any credit card related frauds is by setting up a fraud alert service with your provider. The service is offered for free by most credit card providers and will notify you if any unauthorized or suspicious transaction happens. 

ii) Use Reliable Online Payment Gateways

Although online shopping has brought a lot of convenience in our lives, it is also one of the most targeted places by hackers and identity thieves. Whenever making payments online, make sure that you use reputed payment gateways such as PayPal and Google wallet for the added security. 

iii) Avoid Sharing Sensitive Personal Data Online

Not many people are very careful while putting their personal details such as name, date of birth and address on the internet. Careless sharing of personal data is one of the leading causes of identity thefts and there’s isn’t much you can do about it once you have been victimized. Hence, avoid entering your personal information at suspicious websites or sharing them on social media. 

iv) Anti-Virus Program is a Must

Your digital devices such as computers, notebooks, smartphones and tablets are some of the most targeted areas as they contain tons of personal information that can be misused. Hackers often gain access to your computers and digital devices through the use of malwares and viruses. To prevent this, one should invest in a good anti-virus program that will detect and eliminate any threats or attempts at unlawful access. 

v) Credit Freeze

Regarded as one of the best protection against identity frauds, Credit Freeze restricts the access to credit and credit report. Once a person’s credit is put on a freeze or lockdown, the individual must authorize each transaction by using a personal identification number or PIN. 
Identity fraud and theft can strike without warning and without proper protection, it is certain that you will suffer both financially and mentally. Hence, make sure that you follow the above tips to keep your sensitive data and personal details from being compromised. 

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