Every two seconds. That’s how often there is a new victim of identity theft. In fact, one in every 15 people face the threat of losing their identity. We live in an age where our personally identifiable information (PII) can be found with just a few clicks. While we enjoy the convenience of the internet, easily sharing information whether via email, social media, portals, or some other platform, has created a virtual playground for cybercriminals.
Whether an individual or a company, many current internet habits and lack of a solid data protection culture make it easy for cybercriminals to steal identities. Which is a big business for criminals. Over $50 billion dollars annually. Here’s a not-so-fun fact: The top three cyber crimes reported by victims in 2021 were phishing scams, non-payment or non-delivery scams and personal data breaches.
Identity theft is often a crime of opportunity. Are you and your company making it easy for cybercriminals? It’s simple. People who leave their doors open, or their cars unlocked, are more likely to have something stolen than those who keep things under lock and key. Maybe you think you and your company have everything under lock and key. You’ve hardened your networks and devices, and put passwords in place for everything, so you’re safe, right? Here is some food for thought:
- Do you post information on a social media platform?
- Do you put information into a portal?
- Do you send information in an email?
- Do you download apps?
- Do you place online orders?
If you do, you are giving cybercriminals an opening for theft. Let’s examine at each of these and what you can to to keep cybercriminals at bay.
Your favorite social media platforms are tracking more than you think
Your data being stored in apps is a growing concern for people who use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To sign up for these apps, you are required to share personal information like names, addresses, emails and even agree to allow the app to access your location. As you may have seen in recent news, Instagram users are concerned after the announcement of a new feature that can track their precise location. Now, Instagram can essentially track you wherever you are throughout the day. While it doesn’t share this information with other users, many are concerned that the information could wind up in the public domain anyway and could be used by malicious actors as a way to stalk people.
How cybercriminals go phishing with your email
Have you ever received a spam email? You most likely have. While these emails may appear on the surface level a poor attempt to get a sale, there is usually a more harmful motive for these emails: to steal from you. Many of these tactics are centered on phishing. Phishing scams target consumers through emails, text messages or phone calls that appear to be from a well-known source—think internet service providers, banks or mortgage companies. They will ask consumers to provide PII then use the information to open new accounts or invade existing ones. In 2021, phishing scams claimed a whopping 323,972 victims, making it the most common attack that year.
Online shopping? Be on the lookout for scams
In 2022, online shopping is the rule, rather than the exception. While paying online with a credit card was once a novelty, it is now a necessity. What should be noted, however, is that cybercriminals are using the ease of online shopping to scam and steal from unsuspecting people, including businesses. Non-payment scams, for instance, involve goods or services being shipped without payment to the seller, while non-delivery scams collect payment without ever shipping the purchased product or service to the buyer. They are both incredibly popular around the holidays, and in 2021, they claimed 82,478 victims total.
What are third parties doing with your data?
Apps and other third-party software drive many business and social interactions. As such, many people click “download” or “check the box” on a user agreement for a piece of software or app without thinking about any downstream impacts. Do you truly know where your personal data is? Chances are they are in the hands of a third party. If so, do you know how secure that third party is? You’ve probably heard of personal data breaches, as the classification encompasses a wide range of attacks and affected about 52,000 people in 2021. If your personal data has been accessed by an unauthorized third party, sent to an incorrect recipient or altered without permission, then you have become the victim of a personal data breach.
How can you make sure your online identity is secure and your data remains in your control?
The proof is in the numbers—cybercriminals aren’t backing down anytime soon, so it’s vital you find a way to protect yourself from extortion. There are a lot of things in life that are out of your control. You can’t control cybercriminals. Cybercriminals are smart and are always looking for new ways to steal data. Their techniques are constantly evolving. You can control who accesses your data, where, when and how.
If you want to protect your online identity, then you should check out EB Control, an easy and affordable solution that will keep your data in good hands—your hands. With EB Control, you decide who can access your data, when and where it’s accessed and what can be done with it. Trust no one. Retain control of your data, forever.
Click here to learn how EB Control can protect your online identity from these and other malicious threats.