When we think of theft, we tend to think of our belongings like wallets, purses, smartphones, tablets and laptops. But there’s nothing more precious that can be stolen than your identity.
It can’t be snatched out of a bag or swiped from a table whilst we aren’t looking, but careless behaviour can result in your identity falling into the hands of a cybercriminal.
Simple mistakes, such as throwing away a bank statement without shredding it, leaving your laptop unattended in a public place, or sending an email to the wrong address, can expose your personal information.
While those actions might seem innocuous, leaving personal information lying around or accessible to others can hold financial or reputational repercussions. Personal data holds substantial value, making it an important target for cybercriminals.
Once your personal information has been exposed, an identity thief is then able to impersonate you and act on your behalf. For example, signing you up for bank loans, applying for tax refunds, or even emptying your bank account!
Identity theft might seem like an abstract threat, but it’s far from rare. In fact, 2019 saw the highest ever reported cases of identity theft, according to the Cifas National Fraud Database with over 223,000 cases reported, up a remarkable 18% on the previous year.
Identity theft poses a huge threat for individuals and organisations. Don't believe us? Check out these statistics:
Identity theft is often framed as an issue for the individual. After all, it’s your identity being stolen. However, identity theft is being increasingly utilised to gain access to organisations’ vital data.
By focusing on human vulnerability, attackers can compromise a single email account and use the stolen data to form more advanced attacks against the business.
This can impact the financial position of a business, potentially resulting in large sums of money lost without any possibility of recovery.
A business’ reputation, built upon years of excellent service and trust, can likewise experience substantial damage. This can create a secondary financial loss, where customers leave due to fear and loss of confidence in a business.
Ultimately, the consequences of an attack can become too difficult to deal with, amidst recovery costs exceeding business capabilities, giving a business no option but to shut shop and close trading doors completely.
Identity theft can have serious implications on both your personal and professional life. However, becoming a victim can be relatively easy to avoid.
Take a look at our prevention tips to stop your personal information and data from being stolen:
There is no worse feeling than the knowledge that a complete stranger has gained access to your personal information or belongings.
It’s a situation nobody wants to face, so here’s our quick 7 step guide to follow if your identity is stolen.
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