Mr. Tarkan from Maryland has still not recovered after falling victim to identity theft. The nightmare started around two years ago when he attempted to access his Gmail account.
“I was using my iPhone,” he said. “When I accessed my email account, it said that the password was not correct, so I was locked out”
He said his phone started to present multiple signs of compromise. “It started streaming pornographic material, the camera turned on, and it was clear that somebody else was operating my mobile phone,” he added.
Mr. Tarkan diligently started investigating the issues, as he was no longer able to access many online accounts. “I had to endure the stress of trying to change school accounts, bank accounts, eBay, Amazon, you name it,” he added.
Things escalated when he received a call from a credit collector. He even sought legal assistance and was forced to freeze his Social Security number in the process. He mentioned some fraudulent charges on his credit card, including purchases in Texas and Uber rides.
Despite contacting police, the perp has not been identified. Nevertheless, Mr. Tarkan advises users always to make sure that phones are updated with the latest patches, as he recalls postponing or holding back software updates.
He was not using a security solution at the time of the incident. Still, he was eager to prevent future risks to his financial and physical wellbeing by brushing up on good online hygiene.
“I changed my emails, phone number, opted for credit monitoring services, started using a VPN, and enrolled in cybersecurity classes,” he said. “Don’t provide your real information to third parties and don’t use the same password,” he added. “The password does not spell out any word in the dictionary.”
Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection (DIP) helps you take control and minimize your digital footprint by continuously monitoring for data breaches that could put your at risk for identity theft and fraud attempts.
You can monitor your digital footprint starting with your e-mail address and phone number. Our tool helps you find your private information online, both in legal and illegal collections of data. You also get instant alerts to new breaches and privacy threats. If you’re a regular social media user, DIP will help you detect any social media impersonators that can ruin your online reputation.
Note: The testimonial in the article is part of a series of interviews with Bitdefender Digital Identity Protections customers who had suffered identity theft and hacking incidents. The scope of this report aims to spread awareness of the reality of identity theft and fraud, and the hardships victims face in recovering.