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Here’s how to protect yourself from identity fraud

Little by little, criminals get their hands on more and more puzzle pieces with information about you. Until one day they have all the pieces to complete your puzzle. On the sly, criminals try to gather as much information about you as possible. Their reason for doing so: the criminals want to commit identity fraud, also known as identity theft.

What exactly is identity fraud? And how can you protect yourself from identity fraud?

What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud occurs when a criminal collects all kinds of information about you and uses this information to commit fraud. Criminals find all information interesting. Whether it’s your address or your BSN number, criminals can use any information to scam their next victim.

At the end of the day, not only does the person defrauded by the criminal feel robbed, you too have become a victim of theft. Your own identity is no longer completely yours.

On top of that comes the fact that fraud is being committed under your name. If you cannot prove well enough that it was you, or if the criminal has covered his tracks well, it becomes difficult to show that you are innocent. Protecting yourself from identity fraud is therefore very important.

Here are 5 ways criminals can steal your identity

Your personal information does not come to criminals by itself. They have to do something about it. There are an awful lot of ways criminals can find out your personal information.

Data breach

Criminals use all sorts of clever tricks to pry personal data loose from organizations. The Personal Data Authority indicates that by 2021, more than 7 million people will have suffered a data breach. Criminals use this data to commit identity fraud, among other things.

Skimming

Have you ever heard about skimming? You’d rather not become a victim of it. Skimming is one way cybercriminals can steal your identity. They do this using your payment card information. Criminals get this information by placing a special slot on ATMs, for example. If you insert your bank card into an ATM through this slot, you give the criminal access to your payment card data.

Unsafe surfing on the Internet

You often don’t realize it, but far from all websites are safe to visit. A website’s URL, the link you type into the search bar, often begins with HTTPS. When you visit an HTTPS website, you land on a secure Web site. A URL can also begin with HTTP. If you visit an HTTP website, you are dealing with an unsecured website. For criminals, the ideal opportunity is to look for personal information.

Phishing attacks

Phishing is a common way to find out someone’s information. Criminals send a message or an e-mail and sometimes they call you themselves. The messages or phone calls ask you to leave certain information. Because the messages and phone calls are so well put together, you leave the information without question. Criminals can give themselves a new identity in no time with your data.

Theft of your phone or mail

Not only online can criminals get their hands on your data? Intercepting your mail or stealing your phone gives criminals easy access to a new identity. Your phone is a gold mine for criminals. It contains almost everything about you. From your banking app to your social media, nothing is safe anymore. Even mail pieces often contain important information. Letters from the bank or your health insurance, you name it.

Because there are an awful lot of ways criminals can steal your personal information, you must take some precautions. This is how you can protect yourself from identity fraud.

How can you protect yourself from identity fraud?

Do you want to protect yourself from identity fraud? You can do so in several ways!

First, you must report identity fraud to the Fraud Help Desk. The Fraud Help Desk will protect you against fraud. Have you accidentally passed on bank details to a criminal? If so, contact your bank as soon as possible!

Take action after a data leak

Have your data become involved in a data leak? Then take action immediately! Change your username and password immediately! This way you prevent criminals from accessing your accounts and you can protect yourself against identity fraud.

Don’t just share all your data

Is a website asking you to share personal information that is not relevant to its use? Don’t just do it! Only leave your personal information when it is really necessary. For example, that new game where you have to create an account or a nice online shop does not need information like your social security number or passport number. By thinking carefully about whether or not certain information is relevant to a site, you can protect yourself from identity fraud.

Be careful when using social media

Danger also lurks on social media. You can protect yourself from identity fraud by paying close attention to what you share on social media. Criminals can carefully build a profile of you based on your social media use. Therefore, never share important data such as photos of your passport, driver’s license, or identity card!

Use a VPN

To make it difficult for criminals to build a profile of you, you can use a VPN connection. A VPN connection is a secure connection between you and the Internet. All your Internet traffic is sent through this secure connection. Outsiders can’t watch Internet traffic within a secure connection. This way you prevent criminals from creating a profile of you and you can protect yourself from identity fraud.

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