Identity theft affects the lives of millions of Americans every year. Scammers use clever ways to steal people's identities, including phishing, pretexting, scam phone calls, and more. When they have your personal data, most importantly your social security number, they can use it in many ways. How do hackers use stolen identities? Here are the answers.
What do Hackers do with Your Stolen Identity?
$16 billion was the amount people lost in 2016 because of identity theft. When hackers steal social security numbers, they do so to steal money, among other things. And this is what happens to stolen information.
Personally Identifiable Information
Information that can be used as a means of identification: names, social security numbers, addresses, etc. PII is very versatile in how hackers can use it; they can apply for loans, file fraudulent income tax returns, and more. They can also sell it to marketing companies, which will lead to your getting flooded with spam emails.
This is another piece of information hackers and uses for their personal gain. Medical insurance records, hospital records, and other medical records are some of the records that fall under this category. This data includes identifying information that can be used to purchase prescription drugs, get medical care, and additional abuse medical resources.
Billing accounts, banking information, insurance information, and similar data fall under the term 'financial information'. As you may have guessed, hackers use financial data to steal money or sell it to others. Hackers can use financial data to pay their bills, transfer money from the victims' accounts, and even apply for credit cards.
Hackers do not always need your bank account to take money from you. Credit cards and debit cards are also very useful to them. When they have payment card information, hackers will use it to make immediate purchased and online transactions. These days, all you need is numbers to purchase various items. Meaning that hackers do not need to steal cards from your wallet. They can get their hands on your payment card information and use it however they desire.
Identity theft allows hackers and scammers to steal money, data and use it however they desire. That is why you need to be extra careful when you use the internet. Do not provide your personal info to people or companies that contact you out of the blue. Check the source of the communication and report any suspicious activity to local authorities.