Is your personal data secure? Do you feel like you could never become a victim to a cyber crime? Well let’s look at the most secure scenario that you can imagine and see if this is possible. (NOTE:The following is a true story. Names have been changed.)
Benny and Donna have been married for 45 years. They have NEVER had a loan. They have managed to pay for everything with cash. They have a bank account at a local, hometown bank and have stayed with the facility through multiple changes as it has changed names due to buyouts from other banks. They have never owned or applied for a credit card. They don’t use an ATM. All purchases are either with cash or a written check. They never shop online and don’t own a computer or a smart phone. They have only used a computer at work and do not have any personal email or social media accounts.
Seems pretty secure right?
Guess what? Benny and Donna actually had their physical files discovered by a family member. He obtained the couples’ social security numbers. Then he proceeded to apply for numerous credit cards in the name of Benny or Donna with him as the secondary owner. Of course, the credit score was stellar and the cards started pouring into the scammer-over 30 different cards. He then proceeded to rack up the charges as quickly as possible before his activity could be discovered. He had no plan to pay the bills, being delivered to his address, as he worked on destroying the credit scores of Benny and Donna. The scammer made a critical mistake by applying for a PayPal account in their name. The activity showed up on the victim’s monthly statement. This led to the discovery of the theft but the crook was already on the run.
If Benny and Donna can be violated, despite lacking much of an online presence, then how safe are you with your online data? Where are you storing it? How much are you sharing?
Though there are steps you can take to reduce your vulnerabilities of becoming a victim everyone is at possible risk, regardless of your online presence. The sharing of our data through third party applications takes some of your power away. It is hoped that through GDPR adoption that we can have the control to say who has our data and the ‘right to be forgotten’. But…in the meantime…make sure to follow the best security practices for online activity. This includes email (phishing), physical security, passwords, and sharing of information.