What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is one of the most notorious crimes of today’s world. It occurs when someone uses another person’s information without the owner’s permission in a bid to perform a variety of crimes. This is a common crime in the world today and almost everyone is at risk. In America for instance, as many as 9 million people have gone through this ordeal in the last twelve months alone! In fact, someone you know has probably experienced some form of identity theft.
In many instances, identity thieves rent a house, obtain a bank debit card and telephone in the name they have stolen. The owner does not find anything about it and he/she only gets to know of it when a review of the debit card report or card statement is given and charges are levied against him/her for crimes he/she never committed. In some instances, they are contacted by a bank debt collector and are required to pay for debts the thieves took in their names.
Although identity theft is no joke, here’s a humorous video from a high school from Nevada that does a pretty good job of summing up many of the ways that identity theft can occur:
Facts on Identity Theft
Identity card thieves use a number of methods to steal a person’s identity. Some of the methods include:
- Going through trash looking for bills or any other forms of paper that may have the victim’s information on it.
- Stealing debit card information by using special storage devices when processing the victim’s credit card.
- Pretending to be banking institutions or companies and sending the victims spam messages that are aimed at getting them to reveal their financial information.
- Changing and diverting a victim’s address to another area by filling out a change of address form.
- Using old fashioned manners of snatching possessions that would have personal information like wallets, purses, mail, financial and debit card statements, bank offers and tax information.
- They sometimes also work together together with bank employees who may have access to give them the information.
Crimes Committed by Identity Thieves
Once the thieves have gotten ahold of the victim’s information, they use it for a vast number of crimes that are all suited for their own gain. Some of the crimes include:
Debit card fraud
- They open new debit card accounts in the victims names and when they use the accounts.
- They fail to pay bills resulting in the accounts appearing in the victim’s credit card statement.
- They also change the names on the victim’s debit card so that he/she does not receive bills but charges continue to run into the account.
Phone and utilities fraud
- They open a new telephone account in the victim’s name and run charges on his/her account.
- They create counterfeit bank checks using the victim’s name or account number.
- They open a new bank account in the victim’s name and write checks.
- They clone the victim’s debit card and make electronic withdrawals.
- They take out a loan in the victim’s name.
- They obtain driver’s license or ID issued with the victim’s name but with their own picture.
- They may use the victim’s name and information to get government benefits.
How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
We all need to be careful on where and how we disclose personal information lest we fall into these criminals’ traps. There are so many techniques that identity thieves can use, it’s very likely that you or someone you know may fall prey to an identity thief at some point in the future.
You can help protect yourself by using an identity protection service, such as LifeLock.com. Take a look at our review of LifeLock before you make your decision, or go straight to our LifeLock coupon code page.
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