With identity theft and cybercrime on the rise, most people are familiar with the term. In fact, it’s an occurrence that has been growing since the early 2000s. For example, people who have a criminal history or are wanted by law enforcement agencies may be attractive targets for criminals looking to steal their identities. Here are some examples of how this crime can occur and what you need to do if you’re ever faced with these scenarios.
Criminal identity theft is a crime where someone uses another person’s personal identification to commit a crime. The victim of the crime will not be aware that their information has been used for the crime until they discover it later. This can occur in many different ways, such as cybercrime or even theft committed by an employee.
Criminal identity theft can happen in a variety of ways. Here are some examples of how the crime can occur:
- Online scams: Criminals will create fake profiles or even create websites posing as banks, businesses, or other institutions that victims may have to do business with online.
- Phishing: Criminals will send unsolicited emails to potential targets, often asking for personal information like social security numbers or bank account information.
- Credit Card Fraud: Criminals will use stolen credit cards to purchase items online or at stores, then use those items as proof that they have been paid for the merchandise and demand their money back.
- Gift Card Scams: If someone claims to be from the IRS and says that you owe money when you know you don’t, that is part of the gift card scam. The thieves try to tell you to buy either Google Play gift cards or Visa gift cards in your name that hold value and after you buy them, they ask for the card information so they can use it to their advantage. Don’t fall for it!
What Information Is Stolen?
The information that is stolen can vary depending on the situation. In some cases, an identity may be stolen to obtain credit cards or bank accounts. Other times, it can be used to obtain employment or other purposes like opening a new line of credit with a different company. However, the information that is stolen doesn’t have to be intimate in nature and can include anything from your social security number to your phone number and your address:
Information that’s commonly stolen includes:
- Social Security numbers
- Date of birth
- Credit card information
- Bank account information
If you’re concerned that someone may have your identity, there are things you can do to protect yourself.
First, it’s important to make sure your information is locked down and secure. You should also consider using a virtual credit card. If you use a virtual credit card, the bank will hold all of your money (and not just your credit card number) in an account so that if something is ever stolen, the thieves would only be able to take a small amount at a time.
Another option is to report the crime to law enforcement agencies. They’ll investigate and track down the details of the crime. Just be sure to include all of your own details so that they will be able to confirm everything.
Finally, it’s important that if anyone asks you for personal information or tries to take advantage of you financially, catch on to it and safeguard your personal information. If it’s not a trusted family member or friend and the questions seem outlandish, that may be a red flag.
Identity theft is a crime in which someone uses your personal information to commit fraud, such as stealing your identity or using your personal information to get credit in your name. Identity theft can be committed by an individual or a group of people and is on the rise as the internet expands. In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim, use caution when signing up for online services, reduce access to your personal information and watch for suspicious activity.