Complex Made Simple

Identity Theft: How can you avoid being the next victim?

Words by Souqalmal

Information breaches and identity theft is more common now than ever before, with more people falling prey to malicious criminals both on and off the Internet.

According to the team over at, a few simple precautions are all you need to insulate yourself from identity theft and other types of financial scams.

However, before delving into these, it is important to understand when and where these kinds of scams originate and what shape and form they take.

Below is a list of common methods through which identity thieves operate:

1) Charge card theft
In case you’re in the vast majority, you utilize credit cards all over the place, from the supermarket to the nearby café. That implies your card moves through multiple hands and numerous open doors for criminals to steal your card number.

2) Mail theft
A few criminals get right to the point and insert themselves into your email, stealing private data directly from your hands.

In the event that you notice that something has been altered in your email, or a fishy sign-in seems to have occurred, change your password and install tighter security on the account.

3) Dumpster diving
This is one of the simplest ways people can steal your personal data. Criminals may look through your disposed trash for bank statements, card details, or other financially sensitive paperwork – This is called dumpster plunging or dumpster diving.

4) Unguarded websites
When shopping or make an exchange on the web, especially while using a dubious website or accessing the Internet through an unsecured public Wi-Fi, there’s a possibility a cyber criminal could filter out your private data.

5) Phishing
This is an email-based scam in which a cyber criminal acts like a genuine association, office or organization. A phishing email prompts the user to submit his or her private data, such as address, credit card details or bank details.

6) Hacking
One of the more technically sophisticated ways of identity theft, this allows criminals to hack into private servers and steal information from them.

How to prevent identity theft?

Below are a few simple ways to combat the threat of online and offline data breaches and identity theft.

Add encryptions to your email
The majority of the information you send in messages or through email is in danger of being compromised, on the off chance that you aren’t utilizing end-to-end encryption for security. That implies just the sender and beneficiary can access the data. This kind of additional security minimizes chances of scammers acquiring your data.

Add an extra level of authentication on financial networking accounts
Include an additional layer of security to your own online records that you frequently sign in to, using an email address/username and an extra passcode. Indeed, even Internet-based websites and social media records ought to have a two-factor confirmation code to ensure an added layer of security. Anyone with access to your social media pages could access your mail and through it, your bank account.

Investigate your credit report every year
These days, it is conceivable to get a free examination of your credit report once every year. In fact, Al Etihad Credit Bureau has just recently announced that UAE residents can now download their credit reports through an app. Keep an eye on your credit reports to keep your account and card safe.

Annihilate digital information
When you exchange or even discard a laptop, hard drive, or even a floppy disc, you have to find a way to guarantee the information is completely erased. Merely deleting the data isn’t enough. Failing to do this can open the door for anyone with a little tech aptitude to recover your data and control it.

Shred financial data
This ensures that dumpster divers vying to get hold of your information have a harder time succeeding.

On the off chance that you are tossing out bills, financial records, an old card or ATM receipts, make sure to shred this data before putting it in the bin.

Look for shoulder-surfers
When entering a PIN number in ATM machines, or a laptop at a cafe, keep an eye on anyone close-by and ensure no one’s peering into the screen to safeguard your pin number.

In conclusion…
One can never be too cautious in today’s rapidly transformed digital landscape, where cyber crime is on the rise. The above steps are certain to heighten your chances of steering away from those looking to seize your identity and financial data both on the web and offline.