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Identity theft: Guide for those affected (2021)

What is Identity Theft?

The phenomenon of identity theft primarily describes that Misuse of a person's personal data by third parties. In this context, criminals use the foreign data for their illegal acts. It is more accurate to get to the heart of the matter if the identity theft as Identity Abuse is characterized. In contrast to theft, the unsuspecting victim can continue to use his data and often does not notice that his personal data is being misused for criminal activities.

Usually a personal fraud is only carried out to benefit numerous Pecuniary benefits get. In some cases, identity theft even turns into a Reputation damage targeted by the person concerned.

Identity theft is not a criminal offense
Identity theft per se is not yet a criminal offense in Germany. However, will some forms of identity theft covered by various paragraphs in the Criminal Code:
  • 238 StGB reenactment
  • 276 Falsification of documents
  • 164 StGB False suspicion
  • 269 ​​StGB forgery of evidence-relevant data
  • 263a StGB computer fraud
  • 202a StGB spying on and intercepting data

Other parts about identity theft:

Part 2: Affected person reports Part 3: Expert interview

Identity theft on the Internet

Identity theft is happening more and more on the internet these days. In the course of internet-based identity theft, perpetrators make use of the possibilities of the World Wide Web to cause harm to the person concerned through any actions. Usually their deceptive mindset is taken from one of the two possible goals steered:

  • Financial benefit
  • Do harm due to base motives such as hatred, unrequited love, and envy

Forms of identity theft on the Internet

A distinction is made between different forms of identity theft on the Internet, depending on the target pursuit:

Identity theft on the Internet
  • Ordering goods
  • Abuse of the name in blogs and forums
  • Creation of false profiles on social networks
  • False Facts
  • False suspicion and allegation of criminal offenses
Special case: Facebook identity theft
There are also occasional cases of identity theft in the world-famous social network Facebook. Consequently, the Facebook profiles of strangers copiedso that suddenly two identical profiles exist in the network. The perpetrators click their way through Friends list of the victim and write personal messages to all friends. In terms of content, they fill the news with dramatic stories that are intended to elicit money from friends in the form of donations.

Consequences of identity theft

In contrast to conventional theft, in which one is only looking for valuables, identity theft goes a long way severe consequences with himself:

Loss of financial liquidity

If the criminal fraudsters have gained access to all financial resources such as bank accounts, savings or investment accounts, they can simply access the relevant accounts without the knowledge of the victim clear away.

Damage to creditworthiness

Were in the course of Creation of fake accounts If billing addresses are given that do not match the actual address, it is easy for perpetrators. This allows you to easily withdraw money without being noticed. If the direct debits are not settled, the forged accounts will be falsified recorded negatively by the Schufa. It is not uncommon for the damage to the creditworthiness to be uncovered only later, when the financing of a car or a mortgage suddenly comes into play and the loan is refused.

Loss of legal entitlement

The perpetrators' interest usually goes beyond financial information such as bank account numbers. Instead, they are extremely interested in personal information such as Date of birth, address and ID number. Once the criminal is in possession of this sensitive data, he can apply for a driver's license, obtain benefits or obtain employment by fraudulent means.

Crimes committed lead to charges

Will the identity be stolen and one at the same time Offense committed, the unsuspecting victim can be held accountable for it. If the thieves are in possession of official identity cards bearing the victim's name and are arrested, the court will prosecute them. The situation is extremely serious if the person concerned only learns about the alleged criminal offense afterwards. This case occurs when he is at a police checkpoint suddenly arrested or does not get a job due to a negative certificate of good conduct.

Immense effort to restore reputation

Usually it is an identity theft noticed very lateso that considerable damage may already have occurred. In this context, it may be that you have already been charged several times with fraud and charged with negative entries in the Schufa. In addition, further difficulties can arise, which are associated with enormous financial and time expenditure. As a result, several hours are spent on his To wash names clean or restore creditworthiness with the help of service providers.

Step by step - what to do if identity theft has occurred

If identity theft is discovered, the injured party must act immediately. In this regard, it makes sense to proceed as follows:

Step 1: Notify the credit reporting agency and issue a fraud warning

First of all, it is advisable to familiarize yourself with the Credit bureau fraud department to contact you and explain the facts to you. They can set up fraud alerts for the misappropriated account so that lenders are required to obtain permission from the injured party until the credit line can be extended.

Step 2: Filing a complaint with the police

If you can say with great certainty that you have been a victim of identity theft, you should report it to the police immediately. The law enforcement officers usually run one List of fraudulent accounts. It is important to have a Keep a copy of the advertisement, in the event that lenders and other stakeholders ask for confirmation of identity theft.

Step 3: Contact financial institutions and credit card companies

It is advisable to use the Bank and other lenders to inform about the facts and at the same time to report deceptive debits or transfers. The information presented should then be submitted again in writing. In this context, it is advisable to check any transactions that may have been revoked. It also makes sense to keep the burdened To close account. In addition, those affected should document conversations and keep all copies and records related to the identity theft.

Step 4: setting up a loan lock

By blocking their entry with the credit reporting agency, injured parties can prevent countless new accounts be put into circulation with their name. In the event that the criminal would like to open an account, he will not be granted a loan due to an impossible status query.

Step 5: Get legal advice

If those affected are overwhelmed by the situation and the damage it has caused, it makes sense legal assistance to seek out. They provide support in dealing with debt collection agencies, credit bureaus and lenders.
Schufa offers service for victims of fraud
Anyone who became a victim of identity theft can report to the Schufa and the Have information stored at the Schufa. The Schufa then reports this information to its contractual partners. In order to be able to use this service, after reading the information sheet, those affected should send the completed download form together with a copy of ID and a copy of the criminal complaint to Schufa.

Measures to prevent identity theft

It is advisable to avoid identity theft in the first place following advice to heed:

Conscious handling of personal data

In the first step it makes sense to have some knowledge of the Tricks and Fraud Methods to acquire, so that identity theft can be counteracted from the outset. In the course of this, one should pay close attention to who is entrusted with the personal data.

The personal data it is best to keep it always under lock. If a person, website or e-mail requests personal information, it makes sense to question the necessity and the usual procedure. For example, a bank would never email confirm bank details.

Preventive Actions - Online

Internet protection for the computer

Anyone who uses the Internet regularly should make sure that their computer has a comprehensive security protection Is provided. As a rule, these not only protect against viruses, spyware and the like, but also offer secure search technology. This warns its users about fake websites. It is also essential to secure the data with an additional firewall.

Surf safely in public hotspots

When using a publicly accessible computer or hotspot, it makes sense to no online banking or credit card websites to call.

Securing the WiFi network

Under Wardriving One understands the search for existing WLAN installations by driving around the area in question with WLAN equipment. So that a wardriving attack can be avoided from the outset, it is recommended that the Router's firewall to activate and the respective Administrator password to change.
Use of strong passwords

In principle, passwords should have a length of at least ten characters have and from a combination consist of letters, numbers and special characters. If you follow a few guidelines, it is no problem to generate a secure password. It is also recommended to change the passwords change regularly. Under no circumstances should the passwords be passed on - not even to friends or relatives.

Preventive Measures - Offline

Immediate checking of bank statements

Here it is important to have the bank statements and credit card statements at least check monthly. In this way you avoid the risk of incorrect charges.

Securing personal documents

Personal documents should always be in lockable compartments or cabinets. Valuable financial documents should be deposited with the bank.

Monitoring of account movements

Since it takes a while for potential identity theft to be exposed, the Account movements always in view be kept. For this one can use numerous websites that display the credit status free of charge and monitor the creditworthiness.

Use of a protection service

The use of a protection service supports you in securing your own identity. Not only does it monitor creditworthiness, it also bids proactive protection through notifications if an account is opened under your own name.
Destruction of documents
So that criminal offenders do not even get hold of personal documents like Bank statements, credit card offers and expired identification documents they should find their way into the paper shredder immediately.

Does legal protection insurance help with identity theft?

Basically, the cases of identity theft are extremely problematic and raise questions such as "Who pays for the damage caused?" in the memory of those affected. This makes it all the more important to obtain legal assistance through legal protection insurance. Some insurers even offer one extra Online legal protection at.

With the help of a lawyer, the injured party has the opportunity to come to terms with what has happened and at the same time can feel more secure. Finally, the lawyer stands in advising on all aspects and can plan and organize the next steps. In the further course, the rights of the person concerned can be enforced by means of criminal and civil law proceedings:

Initiation of criminal proceedings

If you have suffered damage as a result of identity theft, the case should be for complaint to be brought. It is irrelevant whether the damage is of an asset-related nature or whether you are the victim of one Cyberbullying attack has been.

In criminal proceedings, prosecuting criminal identity theft is particularly difficult. The Phishing websites may be localized, but this is of little use if the servers used are scattered around the world or managed by a mailbox company.

Initiation of civil proceedings

In addition to the possibility of filing a criminal complaint, injured parties can also take civil action. Several options are possible here, which are supported by the Warning, above Cease and desist statements up to Claims for damages pass. The civil law enforcement of claims should not take place without the involvement of a lawyer. Since the perpetrator can escape abroad, the investigation into him can come to nothing.

Cyber ​​insurance can also protect against cyber crime: