“Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain”
Last week I was reminded of how easy it could be for criminals to misuse your identity when I was going through an excellent presentation by Tom Mason.
A hacker only needs 3 pieces of information about you to assume your identity
- Your name
- Your address
- Your Date of Birth
Here are some tips to keep you and your family safer online:
- With the three pieces of information in mind be very careful about the information you are giving away, especially on social media sites. Check-ins give away where you are and what services you use, and this can be a basis of a phishing attack.
- If you need a date of birth for social media, make up a 2nd birthday to use for that purpose. If it’s not government or medical, they probably don’t need your date of birth. If your privacy settings are not set correctly, that FB birthday video can give away your date of birth.
- Facebook, LinkedIn etc. change their privacy settings often. You should be reviewing your privacy and security settings every three months.
- Enable 2-factor authentication on everything. They may call it 2FA or MFA. This is where the website can send you a code to your phone, or you have to enter a one time code from an authentication application on your phone with your username and password. Although MFA is not foolproof, it makes it way more complicated to attack, so it’s an excellent deterrent for a would-be thief.
- Be careful about how you share photos. Smartphones will attach EXIF data which has information about the phone you used, software versions, GPS, the direction you were facing etc. You can use a EXIF app to view and scrub this data. Social media sites will generally strip this data, but if you email or SMS a photo, the data can be read.
- You can sign up to have your credit file watched and alert you if there is are credit enquiries, like when the criminal is trying to get a loan in your name. This alert will be your early warning sign.
If you have found that you are a victim of identity fraud, you can contact IDCARE if you are in Australia or New Zealand for assistance.