We do more on the internet than we have ever done before. From monitoring our bank accounts to paying bills and buying things from e-commerce stores, there are a lot of things that used to require leaving the house that no longer do. There’s no denying it’s convenient, but it also puts you at risk of having your personal information stolen.
It’s not just big companies with newsworthy data breaches either. Hackers can steal your personal information from your social media accounts too! The question is, what do they do with that information when they steal it?
Submit Applications in Your Name
Application fraud is a common way hackers use your information. For example, it isn’t uncommon for hackers to apply for a mortgage or submit an auto loan application. They can try and procure funds for college, they can submit credit card applications, and many hackers especially love submitting fraudulent tax returns. That way, they end up getting your tax return and you’re left high and dry.
This can be devastating to individuals, but it’s a real problem for businesses too. Application fraud often ends up in lost funds and the verification process can end up becoming a nightmare for customers and employees when every applicant has to be extensively vetted.
Many companies use fraud programs to stop this from happening, but it’s also important that you keep an eye on your accounts and report any suspicious activity right away.
There is a lot of information hackers can steal, but nothing compares to financial information. With a credit card or checking account number, they can go shopping on your dime!
One strategy hackers use is to spend as much money as possible, as fast as possible, before you notice what happened. Others try to withdraw tiny, negligible amounts in the hopes that you won’t notice, but those amounts can really add up over time.
Most banks have fraud protection in place for customers. The trouble is, you could be out the money for days or weeks until the bank resolves your case. If you’re concerned about the potential for fraudsters to spend your money, consider using a credit card. If fraudulent charges are made to your account, you can see them before you pay your monthly bill.
Thieves used to have to rely on stealing your cold hard cash if they wanted to spend it, but that’s no longer the case. There are tons of ways to send money! Just a few cash sending apps include:
- Google Pay
- Western Union
All a fraudster has to do is get ahold of the right information and they can send money to themselves from your account. In some cases, they may only need to know your phone number and they can start sending money to themselves.
Minimize the number of cash apps you use and make a note every time you use one so you know if you sent the money or someone else did on your behalf.
Make Fraudulent Insurance Claims
Insurance is big business, and getting treated is costing families more and more money every year. In perhaps the saddest example of how hackers use your information, they may use it to receive medical care.
Most insurance fraud won’t tug at your heartstrings. Insurance fraud also includes making false car insurance claims, making false homeowners insurance claims, and filing fraudulent disaster claims.
Make sure you know how to understand medical bills and other insurance documents to ensure a fraudulent claim isn’t made on your behalf.
Most hackers don’t want you to know that they have your information until it’s too late, but not all hackers operate this way. Others will tell you in the hopes they can blackmail you with the information they have.
This is a common scheme when hackers are dealing with massive amounts of information from big companies, but they sometimes blackmail wealthy families in exchange for the information they have uncovered.
You’re not out of the woods if you aren’t rich. If hackers can find X-rated images by hacking into your computer, they can use them to make you pay money to ensure they aren’t released to friends, family, or colleagues.
Police should be notified, but it’s also important to know that hackers often lie, and they don’t really have the information they say they do.
There are many ways hackers can use your information. It’s important to keep track of your accounts and go above and beyond to make sure they don’t take advantage of you!