Identity theft is a very real and growing problem, and certainly one that you shouldn’t overlook or think that you are immune from. By understanding some of the common ways that hackers can impersonate you to cause all sorts of problems, you can help to defend yourself against them. With your personal details, scammers can undertake such actions as accessing and draining bank accounts, purchasing expensive goods in your name, and impersonating you on social media and getting sensitive information from your friends and family. Here are some of the most common methods of identity theft out there.

Phishing 

Phishing has been around for a long time and often comes in the form of spam emails – though it can also involve nuisance phone calls. For more information about phishing, take a look at this information from Proofpoint. Ultimately, you need to be particularly wary of people who aren’t who they say they are – especially as there are many ways that hackers have become more sophisticated at impersonation.

Hacking

This appears to be a straightforward way of being targeted, but it essentially involves people with computer skills exploiting any weaknesses on your network, mobile device, or laptop. The most obvious way that you can protect against issues of this nature is by installing and updating firewalls and antivirus software. This is important for all personal devices that you use to access the Internet. While people protect their laptops, they often forget about their phones, which can also end up being a window that hackers exploit.

Remote Access

Essentially, this involves a hacker or scammer gaining access to your computer and causing all sorts of mayhem such as paying for a service that you don’t need. Again, the best way of protecting yourself is by always treating people who get in contact with you out of the blue with an extra sense of suspicion, and avoiding clicking on any email links unless you can verify the identity of the seller.

Malware and Ransomware   

Next up, we have the malware and ransomware tricks that involve scammers tricking you into installing certain software on your computer. Then, your activity online will either be watched and monitored, or you will be asked to pay a ransom in order to get access to all your files once again.

Fake Online Profiles 

You can fall victim to a fake online profile set up either through social media or a dating website that tries to friend you. Generally, this is so that they can take the time to build up your trust and encourage you to pass over your personal details.

While it is sad that there are so many methods of identity theft out there, it makes sense that you are aware of them as this will make it less likely that you are going to fall victim to them yourself. The five methods above represent some of the methods that you need to keep an eye out for in particular.

It's December 2020, can you help...

We’re asking our readers for a little help as 2020 draws to a close.  If you can afford it, we hope you’ll consider a one-time donation of $5 or more to help fund our Indigenous-led coverage of important news throughout Indian Country.  Covering the news hasn’t been easy this year, but we believe it’s been critically important given the changes and upheaval we’ve experienced — from COVID-19 and the 2020 Census, to issues of racial equity, efforts to suppress the Native vote, and far too many stories of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.