Identity theft is the theft of personal data to impersonate an individual, usually for financial gain. The issue isn’t new, but has been intensified by the internet, giving criminals new routes to gather personal data on a much larger scale. Criminals use a variety of methods to gather personal data ranging from harvesting data already published online (such as on online profiles and social networking sites) to using a combination of spam, phishing and pharming techniques. The best prevention against identity theft is, without a doubt, to advise your child not to publish personal details such as bank account number(s), addresses, telephone numbers, passport details etc.
Spam, phishing and pharming
Spam emails are unwanted messages that are typically distributed in bulk. Spam messages may contain commercial content such as pornography, pharmaceuticals, dubious financial transactions, or ‘too good to be true’ offers. Phishing attacks are where users are sent emails sticking them into ‘updating’ their personal details online via a fake website (i.e. imitating a bank). These websites save this personal information and use it for other damaging objectives. Pharming is the process of redirecting users to a fraudulent copy of a legitimate website, again with the aim of stealing personal data and passwords for criminal intent. Talk to your children about how to identify phishing and pharming attacks.
Child grooming refers to all activities deliberately undertaken to befriend and establish an emotional connection with a minor. The aim of this ‘special relationship’ is to lower the child’s inhibitions in preparation of sexual abuse or exploitation. Child grooming may be used to lure minors into illicit businesses such as child prostitution or child pornography.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to deliberately hurt, upset, harass or embarrass someone else. Cyberbullying can occur using practically any form of connected media, from nasty text and image messages using mobile phones, to unkind blog and social networking posts, or emails and instant messages, to malicious websites created solely for the purpose of intimidating an individual. Cyberbullying can be even more harmful than normal forms of bullying in several ways. More…