Identity Theft and Personal Data Security
Protecting yourself from identity theft
Imagine that yesterday you began receiving unsolicited credit cards in your mailbox at home. You get calls from the new bank accounts or credit cards asking for more information on the account that you just opened. Or, you get bills for credit cards that you did not open, usually for high dollar amounts. You check your credit report and you find that your credit score has dropped. So, you call a Credit Bureau and find out that someone has stolen your identity.
Your first step is to freeze your credit, which the Credit Bureau does for you. Then you find out that it all started when you moved residences and never cancelled the old internet service account with your old vendor. The computer network at your old home did not have a firewall turned on, and someone hacked into your computer. They stole your address book and your email account, all without your knowledge. When you moved, they logged into your old email address and learned more about you. They learned your spending habits from your email, credit card statements sent to your email account, and your online e-commerce accounts. They logged into your social media accounts and learned more about you. They got your account passwords, because you saved it in a folder that could be accessed from your email account.
In order to help identify the cyber criminal that stole your identity, you should enlist the services of a Computer Forensics Expert. A digital forensics expert can investigate your computers, cell phone, email accounts, Apple ID’s, Google accounts, Bank Accounts, etc. to help unearth evidence of the how and the who behind the identity theft.
While it is critical to seek the aid of a computer forensics expert after an incident of Identity theft, what can you do to proactively to help prevent such a theft from occurring?
5 Things You Can Do Now To Help Protect Yourself From Identity Theft:
- Use a Credit Monitoring service. These services will alert you when a new card or account has been opened.
- Check your insurance policy to see if you have coverage. Some carriers may reimburse you for necessary and reasonable expenses to restore your identity. Coverage amounts may vary based on the insurance company and their forms. This coverage may include the costs incurred to recover control of your identity.
- Install computer security software to protect your computer and email accounts from malware. Paid security software will stop attacks to your computer, especially for malware and Ransomware.
- Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on all of your web-based accounts. This allows a special code to be sent to your mobile phone to verify that you actually requested access into an account. Without the special code entered on the device that is asking for access, it is impossible to access the account.
- Use a Password Keeper to store all of your personal passwords. Keep the main password to access the Password Keeper not in an electronic format (i.e. on your computer or in your email). Make the main password at least 16 characters in length.
Personal Identity Theft has been rising continually, but consulting with your trusted IT provider can help increase your security. If you do become a victim of Identity Theft, it is critical to reach out to your trusted Computer Forensic Expert to help you mitigate the damage and to seek restitution.
Founded in 2003, ELIJAH is a multi-award-winning leader in providing expert digital forensic, data security solutions, and managed IT. ELIJAH is owned and managed by former litigation partners and is an efficient boutique digital forensic, cybersecurity and IT solutions provider that makes clients’ lives easier through effective communication and white glove service. For additional information, please visit https://www.elijaht.com or call 866-354-5240.
Jon Isenberg, Elijah Information Technology