Any use of a computer to gain access to an individual's personal data for the purpose of deceiving or scamming is an illegal act and a crime. These illegal acts typically include, but are not limited to, a targeted user name, password, bank information, identification cards, or credit cards and are considered identity theft. Millions of people have reported that their identities was stolen because of database attacks. Government records, institutions, and even big companies have reported being attacked by hackers. This goes to prove that there is always the chance that each person included in the hacked database can have his or her identity block, not only once, but several times during the next few years.
Identity theft is a major inconvenience. It takes time for a person to re-establish his identity and can even cost them money. Sources such as the Non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center have subdivided identity theft in five categories; identity cloning, criminal, financial, medical, and child identity theft. Each category can harm someone's reputation, cause loss of jobs and damage loan applications that are in progress. Some people have been arrested for crimes they did not commit, and had to incur the legal cost to prove that they were not guilty. Identity theft can be painful, annoying, and causes emotional harm that can take a long time to recuperate.
Database attacks are a source of identity theft, but all five categories of this theft can start at home. Many people have reported being victims of these five types of theft by a member of their family. Family members have stolen information from the mail, bills, or bank statements left on the kitchen table. Making a copy or taking a picture of the back and front of a credit card is one of the popular ways of stealing identity, especially when dining out, or purchasing something using a credit card for payment. This is a clear online theft because very often the payment receiving device is connected to the internet.
Listed below are some ways that can be used to protect oneself and family from identity theft on the internet:
- Before discarding anything in the garbage, make sure you have destroyed all important information including bank statement or credit card transactions with your name and account numbers on it.
- Internet solicitations can be tricky. Never entertain suspicious emails that ask for your bank account information or personal security passwords. Make sure you only give personal information to reputable websites.
- Internet protection can be greatly improved by changing passwords periodically, choosing a more difficult passwords, and never use birth dates or names of family members.
- Never share with anyone, even those close to you, details about your financial information. Some personal information is best kept to yourself.
- Evaluate and monitor bank and credit card accounts history to ensure that every transaction meets with your approval. This procedure will allow quick detection and response to irregularities that have occurred. Do not allow to question a doubtful transaction.
- It pays to visit a reliable site for some tips on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, do not hesitate to inform the legal authorities and report the incident. Call the banks or credit card companies, and immediately cancel all accounts that are involved, and put all other accounts on alert. Being alert and swift to move to protect yourself is important when dealing with identity theft.