Identity theft: Many of the dangers of the Internet
The internet can be really useful to find information and connect with your friends and family. But it can also come with many dangers. One of this dangers threats can be identity theft. Most of the time, identity theft is disguised as phishing attempts and they can occur in many forms, as criminal become more ingenuous every day that passes.
This from of digital thievery has happened to two of my friends who are professional models. Luckily, they contacted me and I was able to help them out. Earlier this month, one unsuccessful phishing attempt was made on my personal email account as well. I’m going to tell you how you can identify a possible phishing attempt, how you can handle these situations (if it already happened to you), and how you can prevent them.
How can you identify a phishing attempt?
- Be really suspicious if an organization is writing you to change your password or update your information. Your bank, service provider, etc., are not going to ask you to change your information (they have it on file already).
- Check the email spelling and digital signatures.
- Check the email address. This is the most important one. At the beginning of the month, I received an email from an address disguised as Apple Music TM. If I would’ve clicked on the link, I would have given away my information and will probably ended up losing my account and probably, my identity.
How you can handle this situations?
- Whenever you receive an email like the one that I did, make sure you mark it as spam. That way, if they try to send you another email from that address, it will be automatically blocked.
- Keep up to date with your online purchases. Do not try to click on any invoice or receipt that you know for a fact that you were not a part of.
- If you get locked out of your account, open a help ticket immediately or you are most likely to get your account erased or banned.
- If you think your identity is compromised, go to identitytheft.gov , and follow all the steps to open a federal investigation and begin the process of recovering your identity.
How you can prevent them?
- Do not provide personal or login information via email. For example: Two friends of mine got their Instagram accounts stolen because they receive an email stating that in order to get the verified checkmark, they needed to click on the link that they provided and update their passwords. Guess what happened? They got locked out of their accounts. One of them lost an influencer contract with an renowned beauty and cosmetic company.
- Make sure you have two-factor authentication turned on. If you login from an unknown device, the platform will automatically ask you for a code that they are going to send either to your phone or to the email address of your choice.
- In addition to the point above, make sure you have strong passwords and security questions.
You have to be aware that most phishing forms happen via email, as it permits hackers to attempt to trick multiple people at the same time. They create fake websites with forms embedded with the whole purpose of collecting your data (login information, credit card numbers, personal information, etc.). It can actually be a pain to try to recover a social media account so it’s your responsibility to be very cautious whenever you are using the web.