Having access to the internet makes us feel liberating and powerful. However, this liberty and power may be glorified, especially when we hear reports like 4 out of 10 people in India were victims of identity theft.
The menace of identity theft is on the rise. Day by day, reports pour in from all the corners of the country. Some are suffering from cyber bullying, while others are seeing their credit cards being squeezed away.
Is there a way to stop or prevent the cyber threats? Is the Indian population aware of the attack-proof tactics? Or do they know what can be done after their identities and the data has been stolen?
What is Identity Theft?
Simply put, if someone else uses your account (social media, financial, or any other) without your knowledge or approval, you are a victim of identity theft. This unauthorized access does not stop here.
If an anti-social element gets hold of your personal information, they can use it for a multitude of actions, let alone trespass into your personal life.
The hackers can get a hold of your credit card information, Aadhaar Card, Pan Number, Bank Details, Address, and Digital Signature. This is all they need to get loans in your name from online sources, without ever passing that information to you.
Some Stats that Paint a Worrisome Picture about Identity Theft in India
The NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Report for 2019 quotes, “Consumers are proactively trying to protect their privacy, but many feel it’s too late or even impossible to protect it.”
But that should not be the case; getting your identity stolen is not something that can be ignored or shunned away with an “It is what it is” attitude. You must step up, take the necessary precautions, and fight.
The same reports find that:
- Around 80% of the people were victims of cybercrime, and 66% had dealt with it in the past 12 months.
- 61% of the respondents who participated in the survey report felt that they are well shielded from cyber threats.
- 63% of the respondents didn’t have a clue what must be done after their identities have been stolen or cloned.
- Lastly, Indians are more worried about losing their access to their accounts. The Indian average is 81%, whereas the global average is 67%.
So, what must be done to prepare yourself to tackle such threats? Read on to know a few preventative measures followed by how opting for cyber insurance
How to Prevent Identity Theft?
Letting someone steal your identity by not safeguarding your account can be dreading. This is a decision that you will regret. Not only does it affect your financial security, but it also takes a toll on your social, emotional, and physical well-being.
So, to prevent the unthinkable, follow these preventive measures for all sorts of cyber threats.
- Change your Passwords Like a Toothbrush: You will most likely find something like this written on the school walls. “Change your passwords and toothbrush every month.” Well, did you do it? You should.
There are three ways any hacker may use to steal your passwords. They can use a brute force attack, a dictionary attack, and a phishing attack. The brute force attack can be tackled with setting passwords that have more than 12 characters.
A dictionary attack uses every word in the dictionary until your password is cracked. The best way to combat this is to set unusual and mixed passwords.
Phishing attacks require you to be smart and identify every aspect before sharing any personal information with the sender.
- Use Antiviruses: An identity theft can also be perpetrated if you have less than optimal protection. On your phone and your computer, install good and authentic anti-virus software that can shield you from DDoS attacks, malware, and ransomware attacks. All these attacks will give the hacker unlimited access, and they can use it to extort money from you.
- Manage Social Media: Almost every social media platform has to mandatorily give you the option to secure and hide your account from unknown people on the web. So, use these settings to hide all the personal information.
- Use a VPN: Secure all the home networks like WiFi and other hotspot devices with a VPN. This protects your data and does not let hackers access it even if they have penetrated the firewall.
Apart from these preventive measures, you can avail the benefits of cyber insurance
to secure yourself in case of identity theft.
Cyber Insurance Covers Identity Theft
These were the preventive measures, but if you are attacked, and your identity is stolen, make sure that you have insurance cover to compensate for the monetary loss.
Getting cyber insurance for identity thefts means that:
- You will get the money back if any of it has been withdrawn from your account without authorization.
- An insurance policy will cover the expenses needed to pay for legal battles, reputation damage, extortion, and cyber bullying.
In a time when working remotely is the new normal, and the social media can share almost everything that we have or do with others, protecting yourself from the various types of cybercrime
, attacks, and thefts is the smartest way to go forward.