Cyber Theft: Is Your Online Information Really Safe?

There have been several troubling recent news stories telling a grim tale about the current condition of cybersecurity. At the beginning of August, news broke about a group of Russian hackers that had stolen over 1.2 billion usernames and passwords using vulnerabilities in SQL, a programming language commonly used for web sites.

More recently, The New York Times reported that Community Health Systems, a Tennessee company that runs over 200 hospitals in 29 states, fell victim to Chinese hackers that stole sensitive information about patients. The Times said that the information included names, addresses, and social security numbers.

What Can Someone Do With Your Online Information?

Why is it so important to protect your online information? The repercussions of getting your sensitive information stolen by a hacker can be devastating. Not only will they have access to the account that they have stolen the login information for, in a worst case scenario the hacker can commit identity theft. Identity theft can compromise your bank accounts, credit cards, and even your employment status. Another common trick is for identity thieves to file false tax returns, where they use your personal information to receive tax refunds. These cases are difficult to resolve, since the IRS has limited resources and hundreds of millions of tax returns to analyze each year.

An Identity Theft Investigation Can Help You Uncover the Damages

Private investigators can do several things to help protect you from identity theft, both online and offline:

  • Physical surveillance services: did you know that one of the most common tricks that identity thieves use is stealing mail from home mailboxes to get personal information about people whose identity they want to steal? A private investigator can help you catch these thieves and prevent them from causing further damage to your financial life and identity
  • Interviewing witnesses: in the case of identity theft, witnesses may be a bank teller that gave a thief a fraudulent deposit or a store clerk that sold them an item with stolen payment information. A private investigator can talk to these people in a sensitive way, which will give you a good chance of getting the information that you need about your identity theft case
  • Database investigations: many private investigators are good at searching through financial and criminal databases to help clients get an understanding of who could have committed this crime against them. These investigations can be an excellent way to help you find the person that has committed identity theft against you and stop them

Tips To Stop Identity Theft Before It Happens

Hopefully, you will never find yourself in a situation where you have to call upon a private investigator to help stop an identity thief that is wreaking havoc on your life. To make sure that you never fall victim to identity theft, follow these important steps:

  • Change your passwords regularly, especially if web sites that you use have succumbed to a cyber attack
  • Be careful about which web sites that you send personal information to. Many scammers set up fake domains or wireless networks to lure people into giving them logins and passwords
  • When it comes to protecting your physical documents, be sure to shred all sensitive financial documents and dispose of them in a place that is not vulnerable to theft

Identity theft is a serious issue, whether it happens because of an online security breach or physical theft. If you suspect that you have fallen victim to identity theft, hire a private investigator to help you rectify this situation as soon as you can.

Do you feel you may be the victim of identity theft? Contact a licensed California private investigator. Identity theft investigation may be the only way to figure out which of your accounts have been compromised and to get your credit - and personal security - back on the right track. Contact Linked Investigations to schedule a consultation.

Published on: 
November 12, 2014
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