YOUR IDENTITY GOES EVERYWHERE
(Start Protecting Your Identity Today)
“But he that filches from me my good name/Robs me of that which not enriches him/And makes me poor indeed.” – Shakespeare, Othello.
Identity Theft (ID Theft) is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name and to the other person’s disadvantage or loss.
ID Theft is used to refer to the fraud of impersonating someone else to steal money or get other benefits. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when he/she is held responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. Examples include fraudulently obtaining credit card details, stealing money from bank accounts, establishing accounts with utility companies, renting an apartment or even filing bankruptcy using the victim’s name. The cyber impersonator can steal unlimited funds in the victim’s name without the victim even knowing about it for months, sometimes even for years.
Cases of identity theft fall under three broad categories: hacking social media accounts, stealing credit and ATM card details, and stealing employee data.
PREVENTION IS THE KEY:
- Memorise passwords don’t keep it noted anywhere.
- Never give any of the personal information to anybody.
- Get credit cards and business cards with the picture of the owner on them.
- Do not put the credit card account number on the Internet (unless it is encrypted on a secured site.) Don’t put account numbers on the outside of envelopes, or on the cheques.
- Monitor all the bank statements from every credit card every month. Check to see if there is anything that one does not recognize and call the bank to verify that the genuineness of the cash transaction.
- Order the credit report at least twice a year. Review it carefully. If there is anything that appears fraudulent, immediately put a fraud-alert to the bank and contact the police.
- Don’t carry your birth certificate or passport, unless necessary.
- Cancel all credit cards that do not use or have not used in 6 months. Thieves use these very easily – open credit is a prime target.
- Delete all information on a computer before selling, giving away, or disposing it off. While it may not be practical consider destroying the hard drive. If not practical, consider deleting or destroying the information contained on the drive.
- Be careful at ATM’s and using Phone Cards. “Shoulder Surfers” can get your “Pin Number” and get access to another person’s account.
- Use virus protection software always and make sure it’s updated regularly. Most AV (anti-virus) packages have an option to retrieve updates on a regular basis.
If you are a victim of identity theft immediately block the card. Give details of amount debited. Get a reference number.
A victim of Identity theft can file a complaint for online fraud and approach the Cyber Cell. For other fraud, lodge a complaint with nearest police station but before that you must collect evidence against the impersonator and then file a complaint attaching all the details.
Identity theft is a criminal offence and punishable under Information Technology Act. The punishment is imprisonment for 3 years and fine up to Rs. 1 lakh.