The scale of the identity theft phenomenon is large, but difficult to describe in numbers. This is because the data-stealing scammers leave no traces. We only know about cases that have been publicized, and this is the tip of the iceberg – said Andrzej Kulik from the National Debt Register.
The director of the market analysis department of the National Debt Register, Andrzej Kulik, pointed out that very often database administrators do not know that someone had hacked into them and copied the data contained therein. – We only know about disclosed and publicized cases, and this is the tip of the iceberg – he assessed.
Identity theft – targets of cybercriminals’ attacks
According to Kulik, the most frequently attacked by cybercriminals are financial institutions, followed by medical facilities.
– Banks, leasing companies and insurance companies have the money to ensure effective protection of their databases, and yet we hear about some data leakage from time to time – the specialist pointed out. He added that clinics and hospitals often lack these funds, and medical data is a very attractive target for cybercriminals.
– Before the pandemic, about 8-9 million Poles were admitted to hospitals each year. In the medical records, apart from the name of the disease and the description of the treatment, there are data such as name and surname, PESEL number, and address of residence. This is enough to incur a liability on someone else’s account, which someone will later have to pay back – warned Kulik, who is also the KRD spokesman.
How do fraudsters steal your identity?
Along with the transfer of Poles’ activity to the Internet and the acceleration of this phenomenon by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the expert, education of users to properly protect themselves against online threats is not progressing. – We do not or we use cheap and weak security, such as free antivirus software, cheap routers, no passwords or weak passwords that are easy to break, and we often use one password for many accounts – Kulik pointed out.
As he pointed out, the majority of Poles declare that they know how to protect themselves, but these are often empty declarations.
In the opinion of the KRD spokesman, the practice of identity theft can be best counteracted by minimizing the risk. – First of all, you should not make the work of criminals easier. You must protect your ID card and other documents containing our sensitive data. However, this is not enough, because it is only one of many carriers on which they are stored – he pointed out.
Identity theft – how to protect yourself?
Kulik emphasized that special care should be taken when transferring this data to other entities, which is important especially in the case of a PESEL number.
– First of all, it is necessary to check whether these entities are what they claim to be, and if so, whether they have the right and reason to request sensitive data from us – said the expert. As he added, “you shouldn’t click on suspicious links and react quickly if something suspicious is happening.”
According to Kulik, the ChronPESEL.pl service of the National Debt Register, which allows users to receive notifications every time an institution checks their accounts, can help. – The consumer can be checked in KRD, however, only if he has given his consent – Kulik reserved.
As he emphasized, if we have not recently agreed to it, it means that someone is trying to extort a loan to our account. Then you need to immediately contact this company and declare that we have not submitted such an application, so we are dealing with a fraud – he said. In his opinion, it is also advisable to notify the police of such an event.
Warnings against fraudsters have appeared regularly recently. In mid-July, director of the Cybersecurity Department at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister warned against calls from fraudsters. They impersonated the number belonging to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister and tried to extort data.
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