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