Identity theft and the rise of privacy crimes in the digital age

Find out about the penalties for identity theft and how to surf the internet safely.

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Crimes against privacy, theft of personal data and, most seriously, identity theft, are the order of the day, above all, due to the ease that cybercriminals find to hack through the legal and technical cracks that offer the virtual world. Specifically, social networks pose the perfect scenario to impersonate other people, with the aim of capturing the attention and trust of a circle of users from which they can later benefit.

In this post, we will talk about compensation for identity theft and how to prevent your personal image from being stolen online.

What is it and when is it considered that there has been an identity theft?

Identity theft is a crime consisting of a person impersonating another, assuming their name, identity, personal data or attributes in order to commit illegal acts or harm the impersonated person.

Phishing is determined to have occurred when evidence is presented showing that someone has used another person’s personal information without their authorization and with fraudulent intent.

What are the main reasons why the identity of others is impersonated?

In general, cybercriminals commit this type of crime to carry out fraudulent financial transactions, usurp online accounts, defraud or carry out any other act that involves earning money through the improper use of another person’s identity. Extortion and blackmail are also common.

The authorities investigate these cases and take legal action to prosecute those responsible, compensating the victims and offering them new security systems, both online and in real life, for the most extreme cases. However, it should never be forgotten that it is best to take preventive measures and protect personal information, and in case there is any suspicion of identity theft, the authorities should be alerted quickly.

What is the compensation for identity theft and sanctions in Spain?

In Spain, identity theft is classified as a crime in the Penal Code. Specifically, it is regulated in Article 401 and follows the Penal Code. As for the penalties, these may vary, depending on the severity of the impersonation and the damage caused.

In general, the sanctions contemplated when identity theft is committed may include imprisonment from six months to three years or financial fines. If the impersonation is done for the purpose of committing a felony, the penalty may be more severe.

In addition, in cases in which identity theft causes damage or harm to the victim, the offender may be forced to compensate her financially.

In Spain, this crime is considered quite serious, for this reason, the intelligence services demand experienced hackers, often redeemed from their previous misdeeds, to work on the side of the good guys and investigate and persecute those who commit it.

No one is safe! Write down these 10 tips to prevent identity theft

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, surely you’ve seen someone on social networks asking for help to close a profile in which their photos appear but it’s not their original one. This very common case of impersonation is one of the least serious since it is usually done just to annoy. The really serious thing comes when the threats, blackmail and data theft begin. To avoid this dangerous situation, do this:

Do not share personal information on social networks: avoid posting information such as your address, phone number, date of birth or financial information on public platforms.

Use strong passwords: Create strong passwords, combining letters, numbers, and special characters, and change them periodically.

Beware of unknown emails and links: Do not click on suspicious links or provide personal information through unverified emails.

Keep your security software up-to-date: Make sure you have a good antivirus installed and keep it up-to-date to protect your computer from threats.

Check your accounts regularly: Monitor your bank accounts, credit cards, and online profiles for unusual activity.

Use two-factor authentication: Enable this option on your accounts as it provides an extra layer of security.

Beware of document theft: keep your personal documents in a safe place and, if you are in the office, make the rest of the team aware of the importance of implementing ICTs and systems that protect their identity.

Protect your information on mobile devices: Secure your smartphone with a passcode or fingerprint.

Do not share sensitive information over the phone: Verify the identity of the person or entity before providing personal data over the phone.

Keep your social network accounts private: Be sceptical of friend requests and ignore private messages that arrive in your personal DM if they offer too attractive proposals.

If you want to know more about how to enjoy the internet and take advantage of its full potential safely, subscribe to Educa.Pro, experts in the development of digital skills and digital transformation.

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