Identity theft

photo courtesy of University of Calgary

Identity theft, It has happened before, it’ll happen again.

 

Identity theft is when someone pretended to be you, either on email, text messages, social networking and e-commerce sites. These people are also called posers and impostors, and they use your credentials to trick people and establishments that can lead to property and monetary loss. 

 
 

On 2010, a report from GMA7news.tv (article already removed by GMA 7, alternative link here) a program director and news anchor fell victim to identity theft.  The unknown perpetuator allegedly built a Facebook account in the name of the news anchor, then be friended the anchor’s real friends and colleagues. After tricking the perpetuators network to believe that he is the news anchor,  he sent lewd photos. According to the victim, “I don’t have knowledge about using social networking, in fact I don’t have an account with Facebook or any other social media or networking sites”.

 
 
Just recently, celebrity family Anthony Pangilinan and wife,  Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan also fell victim to identity theft. The perpetuator successfully solicited money from fans and friends of the family. In a radio interview, Maricel said they’re aware that accounts of them were being set-up by fans and they ignored it bec. they thought it’s harmless. Until this incident.
 
 
Mark Zuckerberg could have been a victim of identity theft when his twitter account was hacked. However, the account was recovered on time.
 
 

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Likely targets of Identity theft are high profile individuals, successful people, corporate brands and philanthropic organizations. Most executives I know are like the victims, since they don’t have time for social media, they create an official social media account. Thus, opening an opportunity for others to assume his/her identity. Some fans do it for admiration, while others do it for malicious purposes. There are, however, fan created accounts that started out innocently, but at the end, the poser started scamming people .

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Precautionary Measure Against Identity Theft

 
 
If you are a high profile individual, managing a consumer or corporate brand, you can do the following to protect yourself and or the brand from identity thieves.

  • Secure your “official”  (personal account or fan page) for important social sites. In PH context, it’s a must to have a presence on Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram even if you’re account will not be active. Purchasing your own domain, i.e. youname.com or yourname.ph, will also help.
  • Use a strong password- a combination of upper and lower caps, numbers and special characters
  • Use two step-verification process.
  • Use different passwords for your different accounts
  • Keep your personally identifiable information private, like address and contact details.
  • Do not give your bank and credit card credentials to anyone. either thru email or SMS or mobile apps.
  • Do not perform bank transactions or purchase online in an insecure environment.
  • Do not let merchants swipe your  credit/ debit card w/o your presence.
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What To Do When You Became A Victim Of Identity Theft

 
 
If it’s too late to take precaution and you’re now a victim of identity theft, here’s what you can do:

  • On Facebook, go here to report the incident, and follow their instruction.
  • On Twitter, go here to report identity theft.
  • For Instagram, follow their instructions here.
  • For LinkedIn, follow their instructions here.
  • For Google, follow their instructions here.
  • If you have questionable bank or credit card transactions, contact your bank immediately.
  • If you’re in the Philippines, you can use this online form by the PNP Cyber Crime unit to report your experience. Or you can contact the National Bureau of Investigation at [email protected] or call 521-9208, local extensions 3429 (Chief) and 3497 (Staff).
  • If you’re residing in another country, please get in touch with your local Cyber Crime Unit.

 
 

If you are an info sec expert, feel free to add more precautionary tips

 
 

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