The recent past has been marred by a rise in the cases of identity theft. Some of the reasons behind this are the increase in cybercrime, poor personal protection and not taking the threat as seriously as one should. Most people often overlook cybercrime and identity theft as possible threats because they fail to understand the fallout from such a serious crime. The most popular consequence of identity theft is financial difficulty, but the problem extends as far as one’s health is concerned. This article addresses some of the health issues that could be traced back to identity theft in the hopes that more people take a critical look and active measures to protect themselves against such an eventuality.
Depression is a serious psychological disorder that affects over 300 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). There isn’t a single definite cause for depression and many factors could play a hand in the development of the disorder. There are, however, risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing depression such as drug use and abuse, low self-esteem, high stress levels, etc. Identity theft causes depression by acting as a trigger. Victims of identity theft are often exposed to very high levels of stress as they go about trying to fix the problem. Poor coping mechanisms, such as the use of drugs, coupled with the high stress levels may lead to the development of depression.
Much like depression, anxiety lacks a definite cause and instead has a range of possible causes and risk factors. The development of anxiety disorders due to identity theft can be traced back to the stress levels and behavioral changes. Once you find yourself as the victim of identity theft, you develop trust issues that could affect your social life. This, coupled with other factors such as drug use and abuse could lead to the development of anxiety and in critical cases, an anxiety disorder.
Weight gain is another serious condition that could result from identity theft. There are a number of reasons why people develop weight gain including, poor metabolism, poor diet, hormonal imbalance, among others. As mentioned, identity theft could lead to depression and anxiety. Both of these conditions result from a hormonal imbalance in the body and they lead to behavioral changes. That means a victim of identity theft is very likely to develop poor dietary habits, perhaps as a result of a loss of appetite or improper coping mechanisms. Either way, the inevitable result is weight gain.
How to prevent these conditions
In this context, all one has to do is prevent the identity theft from happening for a safer, healthier life. Nevertheless, that is easier said than done. The reality is that it requires the use of effective cybersecurity measures to prevent against cybercrime and by extension, identity theft. These measures include;
Installing security software on your devices
One of these is a VPN, which secures your network by encrypting your traffic and routing it through a secure network tunnel to provide both security and anonymity. Another important software is an antivirus, which provides active protection against malware that could be used to gather your personal or financial information. Most antivirus software is also inclusive of a firewall, which provides active protection against internet threats such as malicious websites and downloads. You should also make use of a password manager, which prevents against password re-use, weak passwords, etc.
Social engineering awareness
Identity thieves have grown smarter and now they hack people instead of their devices through social engineering. This involves techniques such as phishing, tailgating, taking advantage of reused passwords, etc. Awareness of these techniques places you in a better position to defend against them.
Aside from active protection, you should also prepare for the worst case scenario by taking out comprehensive insurance against identity theft. This provides a cushion that lessens the blow if you happen to be the unfortunate victim of identity theft.