Understanding the Importance of Identify Theft

givend —  January 31, 2014

We’ve all seen news reports or at least heard someone mention identity theft before, but most people don’t think twice about it.  Meanwhile, identity theft has increased 66% from 2012 to 2013 and the general public is still very susceptible. Many hear about identity theft, but because they do not experienced it personally or know of an account first-hand, many choose not to address it. So, as the temperature heats up around tax season and more hackers are looking for easy targets, the public needs to be more responsible with their online data.

In the film “Identity Theft”, the criminal calls the unsuspecting main character and fools him through some simple social engineering over the phone. The criminal poses as a representative from his bank and tells him that someone has stolen his identity and he should register for the complimentary identity recovery program offered by the bank.  She then asked him for his name, bank account, and social security number so that she can “protect him”.  He doesn’t think twice and gives out his personal information to a stranger over the phone who has provided no evidence that she is affiliated with his bank.  The film then escalates very quickly, with pretty much everything that could possibly happen with identity theft happening.  The criminal then creates a false driver’s license and credit card with the main character’s information.

While many things are exaggerated in the movie, the risk of identity theft is very real and many people are just as unprepared and unsuspecting as the main character.  Always be wary of random phone calls or emails demanding information without any sign that they belong to an institution you trust, such as a bank or hospital.   Safeguard your important personal information, especially your social security number.  Only give your SSN for tax, credit, or employment reasons and make sure you know how it is going to be used.

Over the course of Data Privacy Month we will cover many things you should know about keeping your information safe and ways to protect yourself.  To explore more now, visit our information security web site and follow us on Twitter.