Identity theft sometimes referred as “Ijacking” is a serious crime in which a thief steals the information of a person, personal or financial, impersonates as the legal owner and commits crime. The legal owner becomes victim of adverse situations if held responsible for the criminal’s action. Stealing of information includes personal information like Social Security Number and financial such as credit card number, bank account number.
Websites like online shopping, online trading, online retailing and online banking are more prone to this crimes, as these websites deals with huge traffic and a large number of customers daily.
Financial theft is the crime in which the criminal accesses the financial resource of a person and pretends to be the one in order to use his/her credit card for fulfilling disguised intentions.
Sources of the identity theft can be counted as unsecured website having payment option, responding to spam and fake e-mails, etc.
Below facts indicate the seriousness of the identity theft:
- The research conducted in the USA show that during the last three years identity theft has reached a 5% benchmark, which was 4.9% and 4.35% in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
- Near about 12.6 million people, become victim of identity theft.
- More than 25% American have received a notification about data breach, requesting them to take steps against identity theft, also turned victims of identity theft.
- Last year identity thieves gained $21 billion through identity theft.
- Every three-second there is a one-identity theft going on in USA.
- Small businesses have a higher identity theft ratio.
- Near about 25% of people, have change online shopping behaviors. They do not trust to buy stuffs from smaller online a merchant, which has raised a question about the existence of smaller merchants.
- In 2010, hackers took 3 months time to commit fraud with hijacked information and in 2012; they only took 48 days to commit fraud with consumer’s information. It shows that hackers are getting smarter day by day in technology usage.
From the above critical data, I would like to suggest some basic precautions, which I read in Frank Abagnale’s book “catch me if you can”. I hope it will be useful for you in preserving you from identity theft.
Surround your Credit: It means check your all credit card statements regularly and ensure that no one has stolen your social security no. to set up a duplicate credit card with your name.
Shred: Dispose all the past year’s important documents like bank statement, credit card statement, and financial statements if they are not in use. Turn your paper into small pieces so that others cannot read the information.
Check twice your statement: Make sure your credit card is showing the current information of your purchase list. If any fraudulent transaction is there then, sort it out, immediately get a legal help.
Spam Mail: Never respond to a lottery win advertisement, price offer, or discount offer mails. Such mails are spam mails asking you for your personal information to access your mail, bank account or any other confidential information.
Sharing information: Unless you know the person, do not share your personal information to others via mail, phone, or internet.
Careful at ATMs: Be careful at ATM while withdrawing money. If possible prefer to stand alone in ATM otherwise a person standing beside you can see the details like PIN no, card no etc.
Password: Never use your birth date, vehicle no, pet name as your password. Keep it lengthy and changing for a specific time interval. It will save you from identity theft.
Besides, above guidelines there must be a strong security for online merchants and individuals. In recent years, SSL has emerged as a strong backbone for online merchants that secures user’s transactions with encryption and makes users confident about online shopping. However, before we should understand what is SSL?
What is SSL?
SSL is a protocol that secures data in transit that is taking place between the user’s browser and the website’s server. Therefore, outsider or hacker cannot intercept the data and user’s information will remain secure over the web. SSL encrypts the information before sending it to the server, e.g. an e-mail, web page request, or a credit card verification request. The main purpose of SSL is to stop electronic eavesdropping while data packets move from one place to another. There are different types of SSL certificates are available designed according to different types of security.
How SSL works:
- The first step is that the browser tries to attach to the website.
- The browser asks the Web server to verify whether the web site is equipped with SSL security or not.
- The server of the site conveys a copy of the SSL certificate for the visitor’s web browser verification.
- The next step is authentication of the SSL security certificate.
- The browser ensures that the certificate sent by the SSL web server is reliable.
- If the certificate is valid and verified, it sends a message to the web server.
- However, if it fails, the browser causes a warning and makes the user to permit or deny the authenticity of the web server certificate.
At last, I would like to say that after understanding the SSL procedure we could ensure that our data or personal information is much secure with SSL security. Now it is up to us how much we love our personal information. If you observe in the last few months many social sites like face book, twitter, and even Gmail has secured their website with SSL certificate. Now it is time to wake and care of your personal information to save it from identity theft.