Identity theft is the act of stealing someone’s identity in order to gain certain benefits from accessing the person’s personal resources such as their finances. There are five different types of identity theft such as:
Criminal identity theft – this is when a person gives up another person’s name and personal information to authorities during an ongoing investigation or when arrested.
Financial identity theft – this occurs when a thief or another person steals an individual’s personal information to commit a crime that results in a person’s financial injury.
Identity cloning – it is where a person assumes to be someone else by using someone’s information to behave like them in every aspect daily.
Medical identity theft – it is a situation where a person takes another individual’s personal information so as to get medical care or purchase drugs.
Child identity theft – this is when a child’s identity is used by another person for personal gain.
The most common types of Identity Theft is the financial identity theft which is what I’m going to look at. According to statistics, approximately 15 million Americans are identity theft victims resulting in financial losses of about $50 billion. Financial Identity Theft results in dire consequences that really affects a person such as Damaged Credit, Credit and Debit card fraud, Checking and savings account fraud, Investment account fraud, Mortgage and other loan fraud and finally Tax fraud.
How one’s identity gets stolen.
- Creating new credit accounts in someone’s name.
- Hacking into someone’s bank account, credit union or credit company base.
- Stealing bank credit statements from someone’s mail.
- Stealing a person’s Personal Identity Number (PIN) at an ATM, gas station or grocery store.
- Cloning one’s credit card information from places where the cards are swiped.
- Sending false e-mails that appear to be from one’s bank asking for personal information or making anonymous phone calls seeking one’s information.
- Human Resource departments of companies where your personal employment information is.
Ways to protect oneself from financial identity theft
- Restrain from over-sharing personal information on social media.
- Maintaining anti-virus and anti-malware software for personal computers.
- Handling one’s financial documents with caution.
- Creating strong passwords for any personal accounts opened.
- Monitoring one’s bank and credit accounts strictly.
The government has been helpful through forming government agencies that aid in the fight against financial identity theft.