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Understanding Identity Theft

Identity theft is a crime that is becoming more common with the rise of the Internet. In Malaysia, 1 in 10 fall victim to identity theft.

The misuse of foreign identities can cause enormous damage and not just financially: Careers and even lives can be destroyed if third parties misuse a person’s identity.

In this article, we will discuss what is identity theft is, how to protect yourself, and how to resist being a victim.

Identity theft: the stolen self

Identity theft is the abuse of one’s name or personal information by unauthorized third parties.

This abuse can occur in real life, for example, by a fraudster with the name of a victim purchases goods or handles legal transactions under his name. However, it can also be purely virtual.

In the case of identity theft on the Internet, the perpetrators use the possibilities of the Internet to commit offenses in a foreign name or to harm the victim whose name is misused. In this case, identity theft often becomes part of cyber-stalking .

Identity theft in practice

When criminals misuse the name or identity of third parties, they usually pursue one of two objectives.

Either they want to get financial benefits at the expense of the person concerned. Or they want to harm the person out of lower motives such as hatred, love jealousy, envy, resentment or revenge.

Accordingly, the forms of identity theft on the Internet differ:

☐ Goods purchase: In this case, the criminal order goods or services under the name and address of the victim from online shops or auction houses – either for the person concerned or even for third parties.

☐ Name abuse in forums, on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and etc. In this case, the offender writes under the name of the victim in blogs, forums or social networks – with the aim of discrediting the victim by the expressions.

☐ Creating false profiles in social networks: Here the perpetrator creates in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp profiles under the name of his victim. As a rule, he/she will then write posts under this fake account, write messages or even link up with acquaintances and friends of his victim under the false identity.

☐ Misrepresentation of false facts: Here, the perpetrator misuses victims’ names or personal details to claim false facts or initiate actions via the Internet – for example by filing criminal charges under the wrong name, asserting criminal matters, launching weblogs or websites and / or misrepresents this personal information.

☐ False suspicion and accusation of criminal offenses: Sometimes the criminals pretend that their victims commit crimes on the Internet – or even commit actual offenses on behalf of the person concerned.

Example: The criminal or criminals insult third parties under a false name, order goods or misuse credit card data. Also occurred: The perpetrators publish in the name of their victim attack or rampage announcements. Objective: The police should be made to search the home of the unsuspecting victim, or in the context of investigations to ensure its computer equipment.

What can you do as a victim of identity theft?

Those who have been victims of identity theft on the Internet should respond quickly and comprehensively, so that the damage does not get any bigger.

What can you do as a victim of identity theft?

Those who have been victims of identity theft on the Internet should respond quickly and comprehensively, so that the damage does not get any bigger.

☐ Check for a crime. If so, immediately report to the Police

☐ In any case, tell your local police department that you are under the threat of a criminal. This can be very valuable in case the perpetrator commits or announces criminal offenses on your behalf, for example. Because it helps the officials to assess the situation correctly.

☐ If your name has been misused in social networks, please contact the operators of the affected platforms (“Report” function) and ask them 1. to secure evidence (mail addresses at registration, IP address, printouts, etc.) and 2. for timely deletion.

☐ If your name is being abused on a social network: Inform the incident on the same network on your real account and warn your family, friends as well as neighbors, business partners and employers about the fact that your name and / or personal data have been misused by third parties. This helps to avoid misunderstandings.

☐ Check which personal or sensitive data you have in circulation and can be abused. Above all, tap and change social networks (Xing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to personal data and privacy settings.

☐ Change important passwords immediately: Internet services like Email, Facebook, online banking, etc. It cannot be ruled out that the perpetrator has gained access to your services or wants to get away.

☐ Think carefully and calmly who might be behind the deeds. In most cases, it is a person who is in some way related to you.

☐ In the event that the stranger (s) actually commit crimes on your behalf or cause financial damage, engage a lawyer and file in a case

Important: Stay calm, as hard as it may be! Panic and hasty actions do not help you but the culprit.

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According to statistics, cases involving identity thefts have increased over the past 10 years and many people do not aware and ignorant of the existence of identity theft.

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