What is Identity Theft? Identity theft happens when a person uses another person’s personal identity, such as their name, social security number, or driver’s license number, to commit crime or other illegal acts. The word Identity Theft was coined decades ago. In recent years, the use of the internet by criminals has grown dramatically, which has led to an increase in identity theft and fraud cases.
The most common place for identity thieves to steal your identity is through the internet. Criminals can gain access to your personal information by either opening an account with a financial institution that holds your balance card number and password, or by obtaining your mail in the form of junk mail. They can then use this information to obtain credit cards in your name and misuse them. Stolen identities are also stolen via computer misuse where hackers use your personal data stored on a computer without your permission. Some people may be unaware that their identity has been stolen and do not realize it until they attempt to make a purchase or contact another individual.
If you think your identity has been stolen, you need to report identity theft immediately. Reporting this crime to the local police and the Attorney General’s office can help you recover your finances. However, there are additional steps you can take to protect yourself from identity thieves. Identity theft costs Americans billions of dollars every year. By taking three basic steps you can help yourself avoid being a victim.
Protect your Social Security Number each year, thousands of Americans are victims of identity theft because they did not know they needed to protect their Social Security number. This number is very important and should never be shared unless you’re told it is required. By using and carrying your driver’s license with you at all times, you will be able to easily access your number. You also need to print out your identification cards at home so that they are somewhere you can find them if they ever become lost. Many criminals use other people’s identification information to apply for different loans, mortgages, and credit cards.
Do not share your social number, Social Security numbers are very important because this information is required to open a bank account or obtain credit. This is one of the most common ways identity theft occurs. Criminals usually break into your home or place of employment and then obtain your social number through a variety of means. Your number is often accessed via a phone conversation if the person on the other end of the line is using your social number to call you. Another way criminals get your social number is by using a paper card that looks like your original card and presenting it as cash. Once the paper card is received in the mail, this is the first contact that you have with this criminal and they can use this information to apply for more expensive items and charge your credit card.
Be careful of your garbage Just as trash can be full of different types of garbage, so too can your garbage be a potential target for identity theft. One of the most popular places for identity theft to happen is when an unsuspecting consumer puts items down in their trash that actually belong to someone else. For example, if the victim from a recent identity theft case told the company where they purchased the item that the price was for a pair of Nike shoes and they put it in the trash, they are more than likely doing so with the intention of selling those shoes for cash. Sometimes the victim of this type of fraud will even go so far as to change the price of the item to make it appear as though it was the victim’s merchandise. As strange as it may sound, many times these crooks will also check with the Better Business Bureau before completing the transaction.
What is Identity Theft if Someone Uses Your Tax Deductible? Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for some consumers to deposit funds into their bank accounts that they plan on paying back to the IRS. While it is true that most banks will help victims recover funds in this way, what many people do not realize is that if the tax-deductible amount is over six thousand dollars, then some tax professionals will require a Form 1040 to process the claim. What is Identity Theft if someone uses your tax deductible amount to pay other bills or for their own living expenses?
Identity theft does not only occur through data breach but can also occur online. Many times, criminals could gain access to your financial data through data breaches that occur online such as through phishing scams or viruses. What is Identity Theft if someone uses your data breach to get new credit or money? Well, that is a good question and there is no simple answer to this question because of the wide array of situations that could lead to someone using your personal information to commit medical identity theft.