Protection Against Identity Theft: E-mail addresses, Facebook profiles or convenient online banking – our private data is noted everywhere. Millions of private snapshots from summer vacation or from the last family dinner are also roaming the web unprotected. The perfect target for data and identity thieves, with often very far-reaching consequences for those affected.
Internet crime has many faces, because stolen data is used to sign up for paid subscriptions or set up user accounts on various platforms.
The topic of data security is easy to explain for lay people and important measures for your own protection can be implemented quickly. In addition, laptops, computers and the like should not have any security gaps and the virus programs should always be up to date.
What is the difference between identity theft and data theft/data misuse?
First of all, to clarify: Both processes belong in the category “data theft” and will be legally prosecuted.
- Identity theft refers to the misuse of one’s own name or personal data such as photos by third parties.
- Data theft refers to the fact that unauthorized third parties obtain secret or personal data.
How do fraudsters and hackers get my personal data from my ID card or passport?
Criminals don’t need much to steal data. Many people make personal information, date of birth and professional background publicly available on business networks . A popular means of getting data online is also phishing emails , which ask for the contact details of the person concerned and demand copies of ID cards and the like. But your data can also be accessed quickly offline if your ID card is stolen .
Even phone polls are used in a dubious way for data theft and living conditions such as the number of people in the household and workload are queried. So be careful and never accept a request to photograph and mail an ID document as a verification measure.
What should I consider when shopping online with a credit card?
The most sensitive data include the bank details as well as account and credit card numbers. Therefore, pay attention to reputable suppliers and the following points of reference when going on a virtual shopping spree. So you can enjoy your purchase and your (afterwards leftover) money for longer:
Customer reviews and field reports:
Search engines such as Google offer evaluation options for online shops. If there are no or only a few, maybe even dubious-looking reviews, you should rather avoid the shop.
How do I protect myself from identity theft?
Names and personal information such as address data are being used more and more frequently in a virtual, unlawful manner. The perpetrators can commit numerous crimes on behalf of the victim.
The scam in practice:
Data theft for orders:
In this case, orders are placed in various online shops in your name.
The danger of misuse of names:
Forums such as Twitter or Facebook offer many opportunities to cause great damage. Radical statements discredit the victim, as does cyber stalking or virtual harassment of third parties.
Identity theft and fake profiles:
Here the perpetrators create fake profile pages in the name of the victim. Arbitrary postings and networking with the victim’s friends provide many opportunities to find out more about the victim.
Hackers and data theft:
This tactic uses criminals’ personal information to file criminal complaints or make criminal charges under false names.
Suspicions and insinuations:
In this form of identity theft, the perpetrators publish announcements of, for example, attacks or amok attacks in the name of the victim.
Take targeted action against identity theft:
Determine who can find what information about you on the Internet. Set your profiles to “private” and make sure that you actually know the person when asking for a friend.
Use personal data sparingly:
Do you use online shops and want to protect yourself? No problem if you use your private data judiciously. Take a close look at all shops beforehand and set up several e-mail addresses. It’s cumbersome, but safer.
browser data should be deleted regularly and add-ons offered should be used. You can use programs like Ghostery to see who is currently trying to track your Internet activity.
Beware of Email Addresses:
Do you get a lot of email? Be sure to check the sender before you click on the mail content – this way you avoid the trap of phishing mails, in which identity data is stolen.
Manage passwords and access data:
Internet users know: “123456” is not a secure password. It is better to use a combination of letters, numbers and special characters! Too uncreative?
Which additional security measures against data theft can I use?
These tips are too vague for you and you want additional protection? Then you should think about double security with two-factor authentication. With two-factor authentication, you enter your name and password as usual when you log in. You will then be asked for a – usually six-digit – PIN. This PIN is sent to the mobile phone that is registered on this network. You can also generate the security pin yourself using the free app on your smartphone or tablet PC.
Some providers also provide PIN lists that can be printed out. Don’t want to enter a security code every time you log in? You don’t have to, because on secure devices such as the PC or laptop at home you can specify that a code is only asked once. Incidentally, this method can be used to protect services such as Dropbox , Amazon , WhatsApp , Facebook , Steam , Google (Gmail, Google Drive) and Microsoft (Outlook, OneDrive).
How do I know if I’m a victim of data theft?
Have you requested your Schufa self-disclosure and it contains debt entries that you never made? Then you are almost certainly a victim of identity theft. Invoices and reminders for unknown orders are also a good indication, as is an extended traffic stop where you are being held because of an alleged arrest warrant. This is a very extreme example, but you should follow up on invoices and reminders and report them to the police if necessary.
By the way, the following things are not signs of data theft:
- unlawful debits from the credit card and bank account
- Debits from fraudulent companies (competitions, lotteries, subscription traps), although there is no written contract
These cases, while annoying and ugly, are “just ordinary fraud cases.” In such a case, just let the funds be returned and be sure to file a fraud report.
What can I do if I am a victim of data theft?
If all caution has not helped and someone abuses their own identity, it is important to act quickly. Inform banks, online department stores, auction platforms immediately about irregularities and block access and user accounts. For security reasons, all passwords should also be changed.
If your email account or social profile has been hijacked, immediately reset the password (via the “Forgot Password” function) and contact the provider. Tell friends and acquaintances not to respond to messages and report them to support. File a criminal complaint with the police immediately! If you have suffered financial damage, inform the bank! The faster the abuse is reported, the better. Unfortunately, despite the criminal offense of identity theft, prosecuting the perpetrators is often very difficult. Although phishing websites can be localized, they are distributed on servers worldwide. Identity abuse is therefore often difficult for the authorities to punish.