Identity theft is the process of attaining an individual’s personal and sensitive information for committing fraud under their name. This could include unauthorized transactions and various purchases.
Understanding Identity Theft
An individual’s Social Security Number (SNN), credit card information or bank account details are all sensitive information. This information grants direct access to a person’s finances, and when someone steals this information from you, they can use it against you.
They can use this information for illegal transactions, such as wiping out your bank account clean. For example, an identity thief could look in trash bins for transaction receipts to get the necessary info to commit the fraud.
However, there are much faster and more sophisticated methods of committing these frauds. For instance, an identity thief could access the government database and extract your personal information.
These thieves can ruin your credit rating, leave you financially vulnerable and eat up all your financial benefits without you realizing it. This can also endanger your personal information in the future.
Most fraud is committed digitally since performing these acts remotely is much easier to carry out. However, hackers can get ahold of information physically by stealing discarded computer hardware or rummaging through the garbage for sensitive information.
Types of Identity Theft
There are various kinds of identity theft that you should know about. These are as follows
Financial Identity Theft
The most common kind of identity theft is the financial one, in which the thieves compromise the finances of an individual. The thieves can use your personal information to gather your credit, goods, services, or benefits without your consent in financial identity theft cases.
Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft revolves around impersonating another person to take their health benefits such as free medical care. This may seem insignificant, but can cost you thousands of dollars, if you aren’t careful.
Synthetic Identity Theft
Synthetic identity theft revolves around using real and synthetic information to register new accounts, loans, and benefits under a person’s name. For example, an identity thief may register a new bank account under your name and use it to carry out fraudulent activities. Similarly, others might steal money from credit card companies, or insurance providers through false claims under your name. While synthetic identity theft usually takes the longest to prepare, it is the most dangerous one.
Child Identity Theft
The child identity thieves use the name of a child or its identity for various gains. It is because the children do not have dangerous information connected to them, making child identity theft an easy way out. For example, fraud may use the child’s social security account to obtain a residence, credit cards, loans, etc.
Close family members are the victims of these kinds of child identity frauds. Similarly, some identity and info thieves may access information about a deceased and manipulate it for financial gains.
Tax Identity Theft
A thief may use another person’s information for filing bogus federal or state tax returns, which could take thousands of dollars from your account and transfer it to the fraud. This also leaves you without the tax refund you deserve in your time of need.
Criminal Identity Theft
A criminal poses as another person to carry out illegal activities in this kind of theft. They may use another person’s information to avoid summons, prevent warrant issuance notification, and avoid arrest and conviction records in the government database.
What Can You Do About It?
Identity theft is a serious concern that can cost individuals thousands of dollars if they aren’t careful enough. However, there are ways to prevent identity theft against your name and keep yourself safe. For example, you can check the accuracy and records of your personal information and highlight any unknown activity you see.
You should consider the slightest deviance too because the fraudsters usually run a test transaction of a smaller amount before making the actual theft. Alerting the concerned authorities on time before they make any such moves can help you in the long run.
If you suspect that you are facing identity theft, contacting the IdentityTheft.gov site is a wise move to make. It is a website run by the Federal Trade Commission and provides information on how to deal with identity theft.
This also applies to spoofing scenarios where thieves may pose as a legitimate business or a known department professional to obtain personal information.
We suggest you check out the Steps for Identity Theft Recovery to avoid any financial, legal, or emotional liabilities. These steps will guide you all about what you need to know about dealing with identity theft and reporting it to the concerned authorities.