You may have been the victim of a data breach or online hack. Or you may have just heard about the bad things a risky situation such as identity theft can cause to someone. But do you know exactly what a hacker can do with your personal and financial information?
Hackers operate in different ways, but the end result is mainly the same: they would steal your information and use it in their benefit. Surprisingly enough, they are not always interested in making money; some are just so ambitious that they just want to prove a point, such as how vulnerable the online system of a big company is.
Regardless of the reasons that lie behind their actions, it’s time that you find out the possible risks you’re exposed to when a mass data breach (such as the most recent and much talked about Equifax case) occurs.
First, here is the big picture: online fraud cases similar to Equifax are the most dangerous because they would reveal the most important of your private information: social security number along with financial information (credit and debit card details, amount of your salary, etc.), plus personal information like birth date and home address. These are like wholesale candy for hackers and this information combined would make it all easier to commit frauds.
Here is what a hacker can do with your personal details such as social security number, e-mail address and/or phone number:
- Apply for a loan or credit card
With your social security number, a hacker can open a bank account or apply for a loan in your name. As you may guess, the moment the loan needs to be repaid, the hacker will simply consider it’s not his/her duty to do that, so you’ll start receiving calls from the bank, since your name and personal details are linked to the loan or bank account.
2. Rent a home under your name
Because renting a home is usually easier than buying a home in terms of paperwork, many hackers will choose this alternative. The hacker will simply enjoy living in a new place for a while and not pay rent, maybe even damage the property. When they consider fit, will simply take off and you’ll be held responsible for everything.
3. Receive medical treatment
A hacker who grabbed your social security number can receive medical treatment under your name. In some cases, you may discover you have to pay for a treatment you never had; in other cases, you will simply have to face a troublesome situation regarding an un-matching medical history.
4. Steal your benefits
Recent estimates say that just in the United States, hackers steal around 5 billion USD in false tax refunds in a year. One way to avoid this situation is by filing your tax returns as early as possible. Then, if a fraud tries to file the tax in your name, the person will be rejected, and you can figure out a way to solve the lawless situation.
A similar case is when a hacker uses your social security number to claim unemployment benefits.
5. Open utility accounts
This may sound like a stupid crime, but hackers often use fake gas, electricity or cellphone accounts just so they won’t be tracked. To make sure you only pay for what you use, whenever a utility company send you the bill, always check your payment and re-payment status.
Secure your private data with CyberGhost
Although no one can protect you from a mass data breach of a financial institution (if you happen to be their client), what you can do to safeguard all your information during all your online activities is to use CyberGhost VPN.
With its incredible technology and using military grade encryption, CyberGhost is your true friend when you need to block online snoopers from tearing out whatever they find interesting about your profile and information.
Download CyberGhost VPN and take advantage of the benefits of anonymous browsing.