Home Did you know ? 3 Ways Hackers Can Steal Your Identity (And How to Protect Yourself)

3 Ways Hackers Can Steal Your Identity (And How to Protect Yourself)

by Mic Johnson

Identity theft isn’t just about stealing your credit card information anymore. All your personal identification information from your social security number to airline miles points can be stolen and used to commit fraud and other crimes. Unfortunately, too many people realize they’ve become victims of identity theft when it’s already too late. According to a study by Javelin Strategy and Research, at least 14 million Americans fell victim to identity theft in 2018.

The reality is that no one is fully protected from identity theft, but there are steps to reduce your exposure to hackers. For example, consider signing up for a tool that proactively monitors your sensitive data such as the IdentityGuard.com ID theft protection service.

In this article, we’ll reveal 3 popular methods on how hackers can steal your identity and how you can protect yourself. 

Phishing

Phishing is very common and it happens when a fraudster poses as a legitimate organization and attempts to lure victims into giving their sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details over the e-mail or text message. 

This particular e-mail will contain a link in which you are told to click on and insert the details the hackers want. Another alternative is by inserting an attachment that you have to download, and when you do, malware is installed and you lose control over your data.

How to protect yourself: 

Make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors in the e-mail, and the e-mail address is correct. Phishing schemes tend to have e-mail addresses that have been altered. 

Also, don’t simply click any link you see. Mouse it over, and see if the URL matches the link in the message. If it doesn’t, that’s a huge red flag.

E-Skimmers

The servers of online retailers store sensitive data and are gold mines for hackers. Provided that you’re shopping from a legit retailer, the purchase still goes through and you’ll receive your item. Many people think their purchase was a successful one when in reality their data has been compromised as cyber hackers can siphon this data to a server that is controlled by the hacker. This private information can be used to commit crimes and even sold on the black market

How to protect yourself:

Protecting yourself against e-skimmers isn’t as straightforward as protecting yourself against phishing activity, because even the largest retailers in the world can get hacked. But for starters, always make sure that the retailer’s address starts with “https”. This indicates that the connection is secure.

Next, make sure that you’re using a secure connection. Never use public Wi-Fi or your coffee shop’s Wi-Fi network when you make your purchase. If you really need to, use a VPN which encrypts the data. The best bet is to use your private home connection. 

Malware

Most of us have heard of malware before. Malware is a software that is specially designed to disrupt, damage, and/or steal data on computers, servers, or a whole computer network. The three types of malware are viruses, worms, and trojans. Each of these has a different execution method. 

Hackers use malware to gain access to a wide array of data for many different reasons. Financial information theft and nation-state attacks are the biggest motives behind this sort of cybercrimes. 

How to protect yourself:

For the average computer user, it’s quite simple to avoid malware attacks. Make sure you’re not using outdated operating software or a pirated one. This is because if you don’t update your operating system frequently, malware can worm into loopholes which have been patched by current updates.

Next, don’t download any e-mail attachments you’re not expecting and don’t download anything from unknown websites. Some common sense is always an advantage when it comes to protecting your identity. 

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