In today’s Internet-focused world, the abbreviation IT could just as well stand for ‘Identity Theft’ as for ‘Information Technology’. Our growing dependence on the Internet for everyday tasks such as banking and business – plus the explosion of social media use – is making ‘identity theft’ a fact of life.
It’s no surprise therefore that the latest findings of the Unisys Security Index research for the Netherlands confirm that Dutch consumers worry increasingly about this type of fraud. It is now the number one security concern, ahead of national security.
More than a third (27%) of the Dutch polled said they were ‘seriously concerned’ about the risk of other people obtaining and using their credit or debit card details and 77% worry about theft of their personal data.
Participating in popular social media groups, such as Twitter and Facebook, has made it much easier for people to steal our identities. Through these channels, we share details of our everyday lives with the rest of the world, not just the people we know and trust. Strangers can find out where we live, who lives with us and when we are going on holiday, among other things. The information posted on these sites can be used by identity thieves to apply for credit cards in our names or change the PIN codes of our bank cards, using ‘secret’ information such as our mother’s maiden name or that of our favourite pet.
With the growth of consumerization of IT, we should be even more aware of security risks and take steps to address them, starting with reading policies before downloading new software or subscribing to a new online service. Also, be sure to change your password regularly, and do not tell the world via Facebook you are on holiday. These may seem rather insignificant actions, but they can make a world of difference.