Identity theft is a scam involving someone’s user account – i.e. their identity – being misused by a third party. Their aim is to illegally gain from their actions, or to damage someone’s reputation.
You may receive an e-mail with “Urgent” in the subject line, saying something like: “Dear John, I urgently need your help. I am currently abroad. I was robbed, and my credit card and smartphone have been stolen. I now need CHF 500 for my return flight home. Could you possibly remit this sum to my Western Union account as soon as you can, please? I will of course repay you as soon as I get back.”
E-mails like that are not uncommon. Fraudsters hack an e-mail account and go begging contacts for money.
The above e-mail is one potential shape identity theft could take – but there are many others in today’s digital world, too. You can find out what those are and how you can protect yourself in our new article on Identity theft.