Identity theft is a type of fraud in which an individual’s personal and sensitive information is stolen and used by someone else without the former’s permission or knowledge. When committed as a cybercrime, the impact of identity theft is elevated to a global level, capable of incredible damage to the victim. Identity thieves aim to gain financial benefits or commit other fraudulent activities while impersonating the victim.
Identity theft can take various forms, with criminals using stolen personal information for different purposes, such as the following:
Identity thieves operate both online and in the physical world, using various techniques to gather information.
To protect against identity theft, keep the following best practices in mind when online:
The Future of Identity Theft
Technological advancements will largely define the future of identity theft. Criminals may target biometric data, like fingerprints and facial recognition, for impersonation by hacking databases or creating convincing fakes. As the prevalence of IoT devices increases, hackers may exploit weaknesses to steal personal data or launch identity theft schemes. Emerging AI technologies may enhance security but also aid cybercriminals, making identity theft attacks more sophisticated. As personal information shifts to an entirely digital medium, it will become more difficult to protect.
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