Cyber Security and Fraud: Responding to Online Identity Theft
By Arijit Banerjee
Identity theft – where personal information such as your full name is stolen to commit fraud – can have serious ramifications for you. The damage is not just limited to your reputation or finances. This malicious person may ruin your credit rating or may claim government benefits in your name. Most companies, like Uber and Zomato, store their client's data in databases; if an identity thief accesses it, they can obtain the data of multiple individuals at once. This is invasive and scary in equal measure. If you find unfamiliar charges on your credit report or get billed for services you didn’t use, knowing how to report and respond to the incident is crucial.
Therefore, we have handpicked four ways from the best cyber security courses on how to minimise the extent of the damage done once your identity has been stolen:
Review Your Credit Reports
If you’re a victim of credit card theft, you can place an alert by contacting the credit reporting agency in your country. The agency will send you one free report every 12 months from the time you placed the alert. You can request your credit report either online or by calling their hotline number. Most online cyber security courses will tell you to wait 30 days after you discover a credit-related fraud before ordering a report, so you do not miss out on anything that has not been reported yet.
File a Complaint
Filing a complaint helps law enforcement agencies bring scam artists under the radar of the law and put an end to misleading and unethical business practices. Make sure to share information about your situation with the law enforcement agency. You may file an online complaint with the police or go to your local police station with a copy of your credit report. Your introduction to a cybersecurity course will teach you how to file a complaint against your defamer.
Secure Your Identity Proof
Naturally, you will be required to provide proof of your identity. For the recovery plan to be put into effect, you will have to fill out an Identity Theft affidavit and attach the following documents: social security number/AADHAAR number/PAN card details, driver’s license, and a passport number. You may also be asked to submit copies of your fingerprints, photograph, and any other identifying documents that may have been compromised. The most prestigious cyber security university courses offer their students a list of the identifying documents.
Check Your Device for Viruses
If you use your tablet or computer to access online accounts and have strong suspicions about their security, run an anti-virus program to scan for viruses. A device infected with suspicious programs could permit an identity thief to rob sensitive information such as bank and credit card details. A person with entry level cyber security training can remove the virus from your device within minutes.
You will be provided with a clearance letter or a certificate of release once your identity has been authenticated. Always keep this letter with you. You should further make sure to close or freeze any of your existing financial accounts that are showing unauthorised activity, change your online passwords, and password-protect all your accounts.
Remember, prevention is better than cure. If the situation worsens, you should consider hiring a criminal defence lawyer. The best way to protect your identity online, as preached by top cyber security courses, is to constantly be vigilant in the digital space. The process of recovering your identity won’t be stressful if you follow the steps outlined above.