Reports show 226,000 identity theft cases in the UK in 2021, accounting for 63% of all blackmails NFD recorded that year.

You, like everyone else, might fail to realise the alarming likelihood of having your mobile devices hacked and how easy it is to fall into scammers’ trap. Hackers’ data stealing methods are becoming increasingly hard to recognize and predict, especially if you don’t know how to surf the internet safely and what online scams to avoid.

To figure out if identity thieves got hold of your data is hard: you may not notice if you’ve been the victim of a data breach unless you’re carefully monitoring your credit file. Therefore, it’s best to grasp the whole safe-internet surfing process to avoid data theft.

From understanding what happens when your data’s stolen to what to do in the event of a misfortunate data leakage, we’ve got it covered for you. Keep reading to understand better this worldwide perturbing phenomenon and how to protect your privacy.

What identity theft is

Identity theft is a term that applies when someone steals your data, such as your credit card number or Social Security number, and takes advantage of it to make purchases, create a new account, or commit fraud. It’s crucial to secure your personal information, but the truth is that due to the ever-changing internet and technology, your data is nowhere 100% safe. There are many ways identity thieves steal your data, such as:

  • Data breach. It happens when the wrong person unauthorizedly accesses an organisation’s data.
  • Unsecure browsing. It happens when you share any info on unsecure websites or websites that get compromised by hackers.
  • Dark web. The websites in this hidden network aren’t accessible by normal browsers and are the places where hackers sell your data to ill-intentioned people.
  • It’s a standard way used by fraudsters to spy on your computer activity.
  • Mail theft. Mails are a target because they store statements such as your bank and credit card info.
  • Credit card theft. It’s one of the simplest forms of identity theft and often occurs through credit card skimmers, physical theft, data breach, and online retail accounts that store your information.
  • Phishing attacks or spam. Through this method, attackers send fraudulent messages to trick you into sharing sensitive information.
  • Wi-Fi hacking. Hackers may “eavesdrop” on the connection you use on a public network.
  • Card skimming. Skimming devices can be placed over a card reader at the fuel pump or ATM and read your info.

How identity theft affects you

You can lose data and still get away with it unharmed. But things worsen when your info is stolen, used or sold to cause harm or make someone finances. Once a thief gets hold of your data, they can do several things with it, such as:

– sell it to other thieves

– open fraudulent credit card

– commit child identity theft

– file a fraudulent tax

– steal your money by accessing your financial accounts

– use your existing credit or bank account to purchase unauthorizedly

– commit child identity theft.

Victims of identity fraud sometimes feel overwhelmed by the psychological pain of anger, rage, loss and embarrassment.

Protecting your data is just as important as knowing what to do in the event of such a mischance. It’s essential to keep your calm, skip the part where you feel helpless and start thinking about ways to reduce the damage.

What to do in case a data breach causes you harm

A data breach can cost you a lot of money and harm you mentally. It usually takes more than five months to notice a data breach, but if you realise that you’ve been such a victim, you can claim compensation.

Specialists from recommend to get evidence of the harm suffered. You need to make a compensation claim and ensure you’re able to prove that the failure of an organisation to take care of your data led to your loss. What are the losses covered by this compensation?

  • Stolen identity
  • Fraud
  • Financial loss
  • Discrimination
  • Distress
  • Damaged your company’s reputation.

The data breach compensation law is not common to many people, and it can be hard for some who haven’t researched or gone through this kind of process to approximate the sum at stake. How to surf the internet safely

You can do several things besides being wary of the sites and downloads you execute on the internet. The top safety rules and tips to strengthen your security when surfing online are:

  • Keep personal data professional and limited
  • Secure your internet connection
  • Be careful not to post personal info
  • Create strong passwords
  • Only buy from secure sites
  • Practice safe browsing
  • Keep your privacy settings always on.

Types of scams you must avoid

The rate at which online scams have grown is alarming – there’s a near-40% rise in push payment scams, according to UK finance figures. UK victims’ loss amid a surge in online fraud in 2021 was £1.3 billion.

Anyone is vulnerable to online crime, so you should try to avoid the following common scams:

Fake credit report websites. Scammers try to collect your personal information through “free credit reports” or websites that offer “free” credit monitoring.

Fake online stores. These offer suspiciously good price-to-quality ratio products, and once the “sellers” get hold of your money and bank details, they often disappear without a trace.

Online romance. Romance fraudsters use this method as this leads to more significant financial loss than any other internet-facilitated crime.

Hidden subscription agreements. Read the terms and privacy policy before you accept subscribing to “free trials” because fraudulent companies make it hard to cancel subscriptions and hide important details of your subscription.

“Too good to be true” signs. You must not click on scams like “claim your reward now” emails or advertised products that “guarantee” wealth.

Try to protect your information correctly and be careful not to overshare it. If you still are to experience a misfortunate data breach, find comfort in knowing some firms can help you reduce your losses.