Identity theft is relatively common, but with the use of the internet, the problem is increasing at higher rates. According to LifeLock.com, Nearly 60 million Americans have been affected by identity theft that is approximately 5.428 million people a year. Since the internet has become more popular and convenient for people to use, it has also become the hunting ground for hackers to hack into someone’s computer and steal their identity. Imagine working so hard to build the perfect credit score or having a large sum of money saved in your savings account only for someone to ruin all your hard work in a week. It is taking people months and years to repair their credit, dispute fraudulent charges, and restore their identity. This problem has become a social concern because it is a rapidly growing problem and is ruining the lives of individuals across the country.
The internet is a wonderful and helpful tool with many positive aspects. Many students ranging from kindergarten to college use the internet for school work and to log on to their student accounts through their school website. Banks have made it conveniently easier for customers to check their bank accounts, deposit checks, and transfer money from one account to another from their mobile devices or from the comfort of their own home. Social media has become the new way for people of all age groups and backgrounds to network with loved ones, businesses, and friends across the United States. Even though the internet has become a positive and effective tool, negative aspects have emerged to the surface.
The following examples listed above all have something in common, they contain valuable and personal information that is being stored on your computer through your browsing history and cache. In the Article, Fear of Cyber-Identity Theft and Related Fraudulent Activity it states, Common online identity tokens include email addresses, web pages, and the combination of username and password used to access systems such as online banking. Hackers use packet analyzers that travel through the internet looking for packets which contain data from computers with particular IP addresses. Among the methods used frequently used by offenders to obtain identity-related data mention as follows: Physical methods, Search engines and file-sharing systems, Insider attacks, Attacks from the outside, and Social engineering regarding the disclosures of identity-related information (MOISE).
How to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft? The following steps can be used to minimize the negative impact: clear browsing history and cache frequently, do not open spam mail, create a specific e-mail address for when you buy items online and fill out forms for reward programs and registering to a website, do not respond to emails asking for personal information, and download specific software that is designed to protect you from hackers like MacAfee. Also, if a website does not contain an s after the hypertext transfer protocol than do not enter your personal information like your social security number, credit/debit card number, name, and date of birth. The s after the HTTP stands for secure meaning that the website is safe to enter in your personal information. In addition, before the web address, a little box will appear that says not secured means that the website is not safe to do so. Remember to follow the tips listed above to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft.
In conclusion, identity theft is a relatively common problem. With approximately 325.7 million people living in the United States, nearly 60 million people have been affected. Hackers are using the internet as a method to commit criminal activities. They are taking people identities by using packet analyzers, a program they have designed. The internet is a wonderful and useful tool with many benefits but is also a dangerous hunting ground for hackers looking for their next prey. There are many ways a user can protect themselves from being a possible target of identity theft by using secured websites when entering in sensitive information. Identity theft is on the rise, but by being informed and using the following methods listed above a person can help and stop the rise of Identity Theft.
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