What are the Links between Email Hacking and Identity Theft?

email hacking and identity theftEmail hacking and identity theft are linked to one another. When someone hacks your personal email, your identity becomes vulnerable. All the private information you stored in your electronic mail can be easily stolen and used in various illegal ways. Moreover, if the hacking is personal, it can damage not just your reputation but your relationship with others as well.

So what are the links between email hacking and identity theft? Read on.

Stolen Data

When your email is hacked, it’s not just your correspondences that are at risk. Your medical history, financial standing and social media connections can be easily accessed. More often than not, people with multiple emails from different email providers have similar passwords. This practice extends to important account passwords like the ones for your online banking. Once your personal data are stolen, it’s easy enough for the hacker to use and max out your credit cards.

Ruined Reputation

It’ll only take a couple of minutes for a competent hacker to ruin your good online standing. There are different kinds of online hackers. And every kind has its own agenda. Some hack for financial gain, while others hack out of revenge for some reason. An increasing number of “hacktivists” are circling the net. The last two types of hackers are more dangerous for your reputation than the first because even though they don’t steal your identity per se, they have the power to be “you” for the time being and create havoc under your name.

Vessel of Virus

If you’re attacked by an opportunist hacker, s/he can “temporarily” steal your identity to send viruses to anyone in your contact list. This works not only with your email accounts. If your social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter are connected to your email, Trojans can be sent and uploaded using multiple accounts under your name.

So what can you do to prevent your email from being hacked and your identity from being stolen?

Use the latest firewall protection and anti-virus software. An up-to-date security is trickier to hack because you will be alerted instantly when a malicious entity is trying to sabotage your online accounts. Also schedule regular scans against potential risks on your computer.

Be smart. Don’t just click a link right away. If you receive one from someone you trust but the link doesn’t look familiar or legit, don’t open it. Ask the sender first (if possible using other account) if s/he sent the link to you. This is also applicable to whatever you download online, especially if you’re using P2P sites.

Be vigilant. Don’t just give your email address to anyone online. If there’s a need for your email address, make sure that the company/brand/service you’re giving your information to won’t sell your email to third party companies. As much as possible, avoid clicking or reading the emails in your Spam folder too.

Victims of identity theft and email hacking are from different parts of the world. Some are just part of the unlucky group while others are targeted. Don’t be a victim. Change your password every now and then to steer clear of the clever hackers.

Do you have any personal experience with email hacking or identity theft? Share your story.