How Online Identity Theft Happens

Ever wonder what occupies the thoughts of online experts like The Moorhead Law Group, computer crimes lawyers in Boulder? For many, it’s the inner workings of fraudulent activity, like identity theft, that they’re often trying to decipher. After years dedicated to studying the issue, here’s some of the common knowledge that those experts have been able to figure out when it comes to this particular kind of online crime.

What is Identity Theft?

In a nutshell, ID theft occurs when someone obtains your personally identifying information (PII), then uses that to commit fraud or other types of criminal activity. 

PII can include things like your social security number, your bank account, credit card numbers, etc. The criminal activity that unauthorized parties might commit includes opening up new accounts in your name, forging checks and clearing out your current accounts, committing crimes and then using your personal details in order to implicate you — the list is long and it can have serious impacts upon your good name and personal wellbeing.

How ID Theft Occurs

Now, there are many ways in which criminals can obtain your information, and the advent of the internet only increased the avenues that crooks have available to steal your data. Some of the most common tactics that criminals use today include:

  • Phishing: Cybercriminals send out fake emails impersonating an authority that you know, trying to deceive you into divulging personal details under the guise of fixing an issue or providing you with an opportunity.
  • Pharming: Cybercriminals use viruses to compromise your web browser, then direct you to fraudulent sites where they can collect any information that you enter.
  • Malware: You download software that you think is legitimate, but it’s actually a ploy by cybercriminals to gain access to your computer systems and hijack your info.
  • Password cracking: Cybercriminals are able to guess your password, because it is weak, or use tools to guess, bypass, or otherwise countermand your password and gain access to sensitive accounts. From there, they can wreak havoc.
  • Targeting younger family members: particularly unscrupulous criminals will target younger family members who may not be as aware while they are online. They will trick these younger members of your family into divulging personal information, which the criminals then use for their schemes.

Knowing these methods that online criminals use is important if you want to avoid falling victim to their online schemes. Remember to keep your personal info close to the vest, and always verify the identity of other individuals before you provide them with details about yourself.