In today's digital age, we have everything at the tips of our fingers. From looking up the nearest restaurant to finding information on the world wide web, we can barely remember what life was like when technology wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. However, the advent of technology has also opened up a vortex of cybercrimes.
Studies show that nearly 60 million people in the U.S fall victim to identity theft each month and this is just one type of crime that exists today. In addition to this, there’s a litany of crimes that thieves commit using modern tricks and technology. Keep reading to make sure this doesn't happen to you.
One of the most common tricks used by thieves is counterfeit tickets. This is especially true near tourist destinations where people are looking to score some last-minute tickets to a new show in town.
Alternatively, if you are looking for tickets for the hottest concert at the venue on the day of the show, you are likely to run into a thief selling counterfeit tickets. The thief is likely to approach you and offer front seat tickets to the show. If you find the deal to be too good to be true, you are probably right. It's better to be safe than sorry.
This is one of the most common and dangerous types of cyber fraud. Keystroke logging, as the name suggests, is simply tracking the strokes of the keys when you type in information on your computer.
When typing in your passwords or debit card information, thieves have a way of monitoring the buttons you push. This gives them access to all your personal data that can be used to steal money or hack your accounts. It is important to remain cautious when entering personal information in public.
Online Identity Theft
Identity theft is one of the most serious and common crimes in the U.S and around the world. There are two types of theft; phishing and vishing. Almost all of us have been a victim of phishing at least once but may have been cautious not to fall prey to this scam. This is when you receive an email asking for confidential information so that a person can transfer a large sum of money to you for safekeeping.
A variant of phishing is vishing. This is when you receive a call asking for personal information. The person may impersonate a financial institution or the government to get this information. It is important not to give out data until the receiver is fully verified.
SIM Card Theft
SIM card fraud is also a type of identity theft. This is when a person gets hold of your personal data and calls your phone carrier while impersonating you. They pretend like the SIM card has been lost and can request a duplicate SIM card.
The phone operator will deactivate your personal SIM card (which is in your phone) and give the thief the new card. They can then perform transactions through your bank and other online apps. If you find that your SIM card is not working, make sure to cancel all your cards immediately.
This is one of the most common types of cyber-crime and one that we can all fall prey to. While technology makes our lives easier, it also makes us more susceptible to thieves who can use tech to gain access to our information. They have all the information stored on your phone or laptop and can use it to make fraudulent transactions.
They are a couple of ways to safeguard yourself from hacking. You could use a dual-security system for your social accounts. Additionally, make sure to use strong passwords.
We all know that your credit score is an important number. It allows you to get loans at a lower rate that you can use to purchase a car or a home. Although this is not very common, some thieves may steal your credit report which gives them access to all of your personal financial information.
All they need to do to get this report is to pose as your employer. They can use the data to perform financial transactions which could severely impact your credit score. It is important that your bank account is protected from theft of credit reports.
Breach of Information
Like individuals, very often, companies can also be the victim of cybercrime. Thieves who are well versed in hacking techniques can gain access to corporate data also known as a corporate breach. There may be loopholes in the company's code that may allow thieves to break into it.
This gives them access to the personal data of all the employees in the company. From a personal standpoint, this may be inevitable but it is wise not to give information to your company that could potentially harm your personal finances.
Software companies will always recommend that you purchase malware protection when buying a new computer and this is with good reason. Malware is another common way that cyber thieves can get access to your personal data. This program is a virus that can read all of the data on the computer in an instant which is later transcribed by the thief.
The best way to avoid this would be to buy malware protection software. Additionally, you will need to keep all your devices up to date with the latest technology so it can detect any malware issues.
Auto Identity Theft
Every car has a vehicle identification number that is unique to your automobile. They are made up of a string of 17 characters that include both numbers and letters. Many tech-savvy thieves can use this number to clone your car.
Using your VIN number, a thief can use it to reproduce documents and car plates for your vehicle. Then an abandoned or stolen car is registered using your VIN details. This makes the cloned car legitimate and yours stolen. You may be held liable for the 'stolen' car.
A Fake Website
Today, we can buy almost everything online from books to groceries. However, there is also the added risk of putting your credit card information online. While there is no harm in submitting your information on verified websites, hackers today take this a step further with cloned sites.
Hackers can recreate a website that looks similar to the website you make purchases on. You may not notice the slight differences on the site and will proceed to make purchases. This gives the hacker your credit card details that can be used to perform fraudulent transactions.
Today, there's an app for pretty much everything and new apps are developed every single day to meet customers' changing needs. Moreover, many websites like Amazon are available in the form of an app to provide easier access.
Just like websites, apps are also prone to theft. When we enter personal information on these apps, hackers can gain access to this information and use it to perform fraudulent transactions. Before downloading an app, make sure it is completely verified.
An Unsafe Internet Connection
The internet gives us access to a world of information but at the same time, it makes us more prone to cyber-crime. Many public places like malls and airports offer free WIFI and while this can be convenient it also increases the risk of hackers getting access to our personal data.
In order to safeguard yourself from public WIFI, it is best to avoid logging onto an internet that requires making a purchase or entering personal information. This data could potentially end up in the hands of a hacker. At home, you can use a VPN connection to protect your information.
When signing up for coupons or reward programs, we often give out our personal information. Very often, this data is present along with the coupons in the mail. There are many thieves who break into mailboxes and steal mail with the hopes of getting access to your private details. This can then be used to impersonate you.
You can protect yourself from stolen mail by setting up a security system or a camera so that the thief is caught in the act. You can use this as evidence to report them to the appropriate authorities.
Unfortunately, you can't trust your car with just anyone. When sending your cars for repairs, it is best to clean out your vehicle of any valuables. In addition to your personal items, you should also disable your digital radio head.
Many thieves scour the internet looking for mechanic jobs. Once they get the keys, they are more than likely to drive away with your vehicle. Hence, it is important to make any repairs to your car at well-reputed auto-repair shops. A simple internet search will give you the most trusted service providers.
Many thieves are known to routinely check for unlocked doors and cars with the hope that they can steal something. Unlocked property is incredibly attractive to many thieves as they don't even need to break into the home. Hence, the best way to avoid such a situation is to lock all of the doors in your house and car.
For added protection, you can also add grills to your windows to prevent thieves from entering. Always make sure to check if all the doors and windows are locked before you leave your home.
The Taxi Thief
Taxis are not as mainstream as they used to be but even with apps like Uber and Lyft, some people still face this problem. When taking a cab with your luggage or groceries, chances are, the driver will offer to watch your stuff or help you take them to the hotel or apartment.
Before you know it, the taxi driver has driven off with all of your things. Tourists in foreign cities are more prone to this type of theft. Hence, it is always important to remain cautious when someone offers to help you.
The Fake Credit Card Reader
While keystroke logging and online websites can give thieves access to your personal data, another tactic that many thieves use is a fake ATM reader. When we are need of cash, we go to the nearest ATM to withdraw some money.
However, some ATMs can come with a special device attached that can read all the information you enter into the system. This data can then be transcribed to perform fraudulent transactions using your card details. Make sure you are using a verified ATM before you insert your card.
While this tactic is not too common today, there are some thieves who still do this. Since we have access to all our information online, we often tend to throw away any paper documents that take up too much space.
These documents can also include bank statements and other financial data. Many thieves are known for going through your trash in the hopes of finding such information so they can use it to steal your money. The best way to protect yourself against this is to shred all your documents before you discard them.
A Broken Camera
When you are at a tourist spot, more often than not, someone may ask you to take a picture of them. While you think you are doing a good deed, this may not always be the case. You may be a victim of the broken camera trick.
A person may approach you to take a picture of them and hand you the camera. Once you try to take a picture of the person, you will find that the camera is broken. The owner of the camera (the thief) will try to blame you for the broken camera and ask for compensation. In most cases, you can get out of a situation like this with no trouble but it can also be quite dangerous at times. You need to be cautious of the people you take pictures of.
The Fake Cop Trick
This fake cop trick is a serious crime and punishable offense. When approached by a cop for information, we are more inclined to give them our personal details since they are a person of the law. This includes information about our finances as well.
Some thieves can get this information by impersonating a cop. They can approach you and ask for valuable information that would otherwise remain confidential. Alternatively, they can ask for your wallet and take out money without your knowledge. It is wise to ask a cop for ID proof before providing information.