Cyber Space Security: Identity Theft

Chukwudi Awaibe Written by Chukwudi Awaibe · 2 min read >
Cyber Safety

Cyber Security is the practice of protecting information or data in all forms and in all media from malicious attack. Most often, cybercrime is for financial gains or for any form of disruptions (in the case of Businesses or organizations)

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when an unauthorized party uses your personal identifying information, such as your photo, name, address, or credit card or bank account information, Bank Verification Number (BVN) or National Identity Number (NIN) to assume your identity to commit fraud or other criminal acts.

Types of Identity Theft

  • Driver’s License Identity Theft.
  • Mail Identity Theft
  • Debit Card Fraud or Credit Card Fraud.
  • National Identity Number Identity Theft
  • Account Takeover Identity Theft.
  • Child Identity Theft.
  • Tax Identity Theft
  • Biometric ID Theft
  • Criminal Identity Theft
  • New Account takeover
  • Medical Identity theft
  • Loan Stacking Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Auto Lending Fraud
  • Employment Identity Theft
  • Bust-out Fraud
  • Internet of Things Identity Theft
  • SIM Swap
  • Photo Identity Theft

Keeping Your Personal Information Secure Online

Protecting your personal information can help reduce your risk of identity theft. There are four main ways to achieve this:

  1. Know who you share information with.
  2. Store and dispose (when expired or no more required) of your personal information securely, especially your National Identity Number, Debit/Credit card and or Driver’s License.
  3. Ask questions before deciding to share your personal information.
  4. Maintain appropriate security on your social media accounts, computers, and other electronic devices.
  5. Minimize, reduce, or protect your footprints on social media.

Things to note are:

Be Alert to Impersonators

Make sure you know who is getting your personal or financial information. Don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. If a company that claims to have an account with you sends email asking for personal information, don’t click on links in the email. Instead, type the company name into your web browser, go to their site, and contact them through customer service. Or call the customer service number listed on your account statement. Ask whether the company really sent a request.

Safely Dispose of Personal Information

Before you dispose of a computer, get rid of all the personal information it stores. Use a wipe utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive.

Before you dispose of a mobile device, check your owner’s manual, the service provider’s website, or the device manufacturer’s website for information on how to delete information permanently, and how to save or transfer information to a new device. Remove the memory or subscriber identity module (SIM) card from a mobile device. Remove the phone book, lists of calls made and received, voicemails, messages sent and received, organizer folders, web search history, and photos.

Encrypt Your Data

Keep your browser secure. To guard your online transactions, use encryption software that scrambles information you send over the internet. A “lock” icon on the status bar of your internet browser means your information will be safe when it’s transmitted. Look for the lock before you send personal or financial information online.

Keep Passwords Private and Use Strong Passwords

Use strong passwords with your laptop, bank, and other accounts. Be creative: think of a special phrase and use the first letter of each word as your password. Substitute numbers for some words or letters. For example, “I want to see the Pacific Ocean” could become 1W2CtPo. Your password is meant to be private to you, do not share or disclose to anyone or 3rd parties.

Don’t Overshare on Social Networking Sites

If you post too much information about yourself or pictures of yourself and your family, an identity thief can find information about your life, your family and use it to answer ‘challenge’ questions on your accounts and get access to your money and personal information. An identity thief can also assume to be you, using your picture to commit dubious activities. Consider limiting access to your networking page to a small group of people. Never post your full name, National Identity number, address, phone number, or account numbers and BVN in publicly accessible sites. Generally, reduce your footprint on social media.



  ·   1 min read

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