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Credit Education > Identity Theft > The Impact of the Internet to Identity Theft

The Impact of the Internet to Identity Theft

By Janet Lacey
Published: Friday, November 12th, 2010

This article discusses how the internet aid in identity theft.

Truly the internet has come a long way since its invention. With the advent of the internet came the development of people relations. People from opposite poles of the globe are able to associate with each other, exchange ideas and unite. But along with the positive effects comes the negative ones. Crimes have developed with the time and with this technology. It may be safe to say that organized crimes have become more functional due to the ease the internet has presented.

One such crime that is worth taking note is identity theft. It is the act of acquiring an individual’s personal information mostly for financial benefits. Simple information such as a person’s name, address, and birth date could be enough for a criminal to carry out his scheme. More important information that could cause greater damage may be a person’s Social Security Number, credit card numbers, Personal Identification Numbers, passwords and driver’s licenses.

These information can easily be acquired through pickpocket or garbage rummaging but the method which may have the least effort is by working through the internet. The terms phishing and spam may be unfamiliar words but they are commonly used in identity theft.

Phishing is the act of fraudulently acquiring a person’s information by posing as a legitimate establishment. This is usually done through emails and instant messages wherein they claim to be from a known establishment at which they ask for certain information regarding the person. Phishing emails are engineered to look like the real emails making it hard to differentiate the two.

Phishing emails mostly come in spams. Spams are unsolicited bulk messages. E-mail spam which are the ones used in phishing are identical messages sent to multiples of recipients therefore it is a convenient way for a phisher to find victims since hundreds of people are just a click away.

On the other hand, the increasing number of social networking sites has also become an easy source of fruitful information. Through these sites, an identity thief will be able to find email addresses to which he can send his phishing emails. This is called harvesting. The more email addresses he is able to collect, the greater the ratio of victims that could succumb to his scam.

Remember, identity theft is truly a serious crime that could hit you out of nowhere even if you are in the comforts of your home. The convenience the internet has provided to criminals in terms of ease of operation for their scams and the difficulty for them to be tracked makes the internet a big hide-out. Moreover, the anonymity of people rummaging your garbage and the rapid hands of pickpockets make it hard for the police to apprehend these criminals, therefore, you should always be aware and alert of things that are happening around you.

In conclusion, awareness is your best guard against identity theft.  Be careful of the information you give out through the internet because different people can get access to these information, but be extra careful with the messages you receive because you might receive phishing emails.

AUTHOR INFO BOX: Identity theft is a crime that can be detected early if a person monitors his credit reports and scores regularly. Get your free information regarding your free annual credit reports at Free-Credit-Reports.com.

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