Identity theft is a crime that is becoming more common with the rise of the Internet. In Malaysia, 1 in 10 fall victim to identity theft.

The misuse of foreign identities can cause enormous damage and not just financially: Careers and even lives can be destroyed if third parties misuse a person's identity.

In this article, we will discuss what us identity theft is, how to protect yourself, and how to resist being a victim.

Identity theft in practice

When criminals misuse the name or identity of third parties, they usually pursue one of two objectives.

Either they want to get financial benefits at the expense of the person concerned. Or they want to harm the person out of lower motives such as hatred, love jealousy, envy, resentment or revenge.

Example: The criminal or criminals' insult third parties under a false name, order goods or misuse credit card data. Also occurred: The perpetrators publish in the name of their victim attack or rampage announcements. Objectives: The police should be made to search the home of unsuspecting victim, or in the context of investigations to ensure its computer equipment.

What can you do as a victim of identity theft?

Those who have been victims of identity theft on the Internet should respond quickly and comprehensively, so that the damage does not get any bigger.

Accordingly, the forms of identity theft on the Internet differ:

  • Goods purchase: In this case, the criminal order goods or services under the name and address of the victim from online shops or auction houses — either for the person concerned or even for third parties.
  • Name abuse in forums, on social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and etc. In this case, the offender writes under the name if the victim in blogs, forums or social networks — with the aim of discrediting the victim by the expressions.
  • Creating false profiles in social networks: Here the perpetrator creates in social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp profiles under the name of his victim. As a rule, he/she will then write posts under this fake account, write messages or even link up with acquaintances and friends of his victim under the false identity.
  • Misrepresentation or false facts: Here, the perpetrator misuses victims' names or personal details to claim false facts or initiate actions via internet — for example by filing criminal charges under the wrong name, asserting criminal matters, launching weblogs or websites and/or misrepresents this personal information.
  • False suspicion and accusation of criminal offenses: Sometimes the criminals pretend that their victims commit crimes on the Internet — or even commit actual offenses on behalf of the person concerned.

What can you do as a victim of identity theft?

Those who have been victims of identity theft on the Internet should respond quickly and comprehensively, so that the damage does not get any bigger.

  • Check for a crime. If so, immediately report to the Police
  • In any case, tell your local police department that you are under the threat of a criminal. This can be very valuable in case the perpetrator commits or announces criminal offenses on your behalf, for example. Because it helps the officials to assess the situation correctly.
  • If your name has been misused in social networks, please contact the operators of the affected platforms ("Report" function) and ask them 1. to secure evidence (mail addresses at registrations, IP address, printouts, etc.) and 2. for timely deletion.
  • If your name is being abused on a social network: inform the incident on the same network on your real account and warn your family, friends as well as neighbors, business partners and employers about the fact that your name and / or personal data have been misused by third parties. This helps to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Check which personal or sensitive data you have in circulation and can be abused. Above all, tap and change social networks (Xing, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and etc.) to personal data and privacy settings.
  • Change important passwords immediately: internet services like Email, Facebook, online banking, etc. It cannot be ruled out that the perpetrator has gained access to your services or wants to get away.
  • Think carefully and calmly who might be behind the deeds. In most cases, it is a person who is in some way related to you.
  • In the event that the stranger(s) actually commit crimes on your behalf or cause financial damage, engage a lawyer and file in a case.

Important: Stay calm, as hard as it may be! Panic and hasty actions do not help you but the culprit.

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