Identity theft refers to someone’s personal details being stolen and misused. As the 21st century has unfolded, controlling your identity has become much more difficult.
The rise of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Midjourney, and DALL-E, complicates every individual’s ability to guard against the exploitation of their individuality, whether that be their name or image.
And it doesn’t stop there. Developers are now testing and implementing generative AI features for Photoshop and other digital image software. These features could add to criminals’ ability to create and edit realistic images tied to real-world people.
All these new developments can be used to steal individuals’ identities – and sometimes without compromising any of their actual private data. With AI tools, criminals can combine real and fake ID information to create new and artificial identities.
What’s in it for criminals?
Modern cyber crime is all about money. Creating fake profiles with AI and combining real personal data could be used for many types of fraud very effectively. Scamming money from relatives, friends or colleagues, romance and investment scams, buying things, taking loans – you name it.
Future ID theft could range from someone using your pictures for a fake social media profile, to someone misusing your credit card, or even setting up fake businesses in your name for international money laundering or other criminal activity. These might be partially based on real personal data, and the rest could be made up with AI.
As a result, there can be a fake person who looks like you, talks like you and has the same birthday, home address, and phone number as you do. And as video calls are standard nowadays, it’s easy for scammers to appear as you with real-time generated AI footage. And who can tell the difference?
Identity protection is more important than ever
While the challenges of protecting your identity will only grow more complex in the age of AI, the ways to protect your online and financial accounts are unlikely to change – at least for the foreseeable future. Here are some vital tips on protecting yourself.
Unique passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: While it’s easier to utilize and even refine stolen identities with AI, completely made up “people” won’t achieve much. This is because criminals still need some real personal information to commit identity theft. And there’s personal details on almost every online account. So, unique passwords and two-factor authentication (2FA) still gives you good protection for your personal details online. You can create unique passwords for free with this Strong Password Generator.
Identity monitoring: Likewise, the old advice about changing the password from any service that may have been breached and never reusing that leaked password again still holds. But it’s hard to do that if you don’t know it’s leaked. Therefore, monitoring your data to see if it has been exposed in any data leaks remains essential.
You can use a free tool like F-Secure Identity Theft Checker to check if your personally identifiable information has been shared on the Dark Web. And a security app like F-Secure Total includes identity protection that offers alerts and personal assistance if an online service you use has been hacked.
Credit report: In addition, placing a hold on your credit report (if such a hold is available where you live) remains essential if your key financial information – such as social security or account numbers – has been exposed. This prevents any new credit being issued in your name until the hold is removed by you.
“Much about the AI era feels like science fiction, but protecting yourself from identity theft in this time requires some old fashion homework.” says Laura Kankaala, Threat Intelligence Lead at F-Secure. “In addition to regularly using web searches, you must commit to always checking your financial statements. Whether you get them by mail or view them online, review all your purchases via credit cards every month, especially after you’ve done some traveling. In addition, check out your credit report at least once a year.”
Good folk use AI too
Just as AI has made the risks of identity theft greater, it also can and is being used by the good guys to improve internet security tools that prevent these sorts of crimes. So, make sure to use the best technology you can to protect yourself by using a solution like TDS’ Internet Security Suite. Call 1-855-696-8368 for more information about our protection plans for you and your family.