My identity is stolen!

Online Identify theft is a form of crime where your personal information is stolen by one or more cybercriminal(s) and then used to impersonate you, usually for financial gain.

In some cases, cybercriminals might use private messages they obtain from your emails and social networks to embarrass you publicly and damage your reputation.

Cybercriminals may steal personal information in several ways such by installing malicious code on your personal computer to direct you to fake websites or take control of your computer in other ways without your knowledge to obtain information like usernames, passwords and/or credit card details.

Additionally, cybercriminals may send emails that falsely claim to be an established legitimate enterprise or individual in an attempt to scam you into surrendering private information.

Many online businesses today also store personal information about customers on websites which provides another way for your personal information to be accessed, without your permission or knowledge.

Top Recovery Tips

1. Don’t Panic. Identify any unauthorized withdrawals.

Think about what personal information may be at risk and contact the concerned authorities to report the fraud as soon as you find out.

Verify with your bank, online payment institutions (Paypal for example) and CC provider to check no unauthorized withdrawal has been made. If any such transactions are identified contact your bank and other financial institutions to freeze your accounts. In any case, make sure you change your PIN numbers and secure codes.

2. Change all your passwords in all websites and/or applications.

Ensure you change your passwords for all online accounts. Use a password that is long, strong and unique, with a combination of upper and lowercase alphabets, numbers and symbols.

Don’t use information that could be easily linked to you (such as name, date of birth, family member names, phone numbers, the names of pets or hobbies, etc.).

3. Clean up your machine!

Make sure you scan your devices with antivirus software to detect any malicious content. Update the security software, web browser, 3rd party software (like Java and Adobe) and operating system to protect against viruses, malware, and other online threats and automate updates if the option is available. Format if necessary, advised in case of rootkits.

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