Many people associate identity theft with having a wallet or purse stolen. But did you know that a compromised computer is fast becoming the most likely way that your identity can be stolen? And that spyware is often at the root of this malicious activity?
Here’s how they do it:
Spyware travels over the Internet and infects your computer.
You can encounter spyware and other forms of identity theft in many ways, including:
Downloading files or software
Opening email attachments or clicking on pop-ups
Visiting devious Web sites
Operating silently, spyware collects your information.
Without your knowledge, spyware runs in the background while it records your Internet browsing habits and keystrokes, monitors the programs you use and collects your personal information, which can lead to credit card fraud and online identity theft.
Spyware uses your Internet connection to transmit your information to identity thieves.
While your computer is connected to the Internet, spyware quietly transmits your personal information, which can include:
Credit card numbers
Bank account numbers
Social Security numbers
Usernames and passwords
Address books, including email addresses
Spyware villains use your information for illicit or illegal activities.
The villain who placed spyware on your computer receives your information and can now:
Steal money and open credit card and bank accounts in your name
Sell it to other parties who will use it for illicit or illegal