Just What is Identity Theft?
An identity thief takes your personal information and uses it without your knowledge. The thief may run up debts or even commit crimes in your name. Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record.
As the name suggests, it is the theft of the personal information of another. The theft would be incomplete unless the information was used for some nefarious process, and it is in many different ways. Keeping your personal information from falling into the wrong hands will help you from becoming another identity theft victim.
The most common form of identity theft is not the stealing of credit card numbers. Instead, the devious individual is aiming for your social security number. Why? That number is the basis of many different financial transactions.
With a social security number, an identity thief can take many financial steps. They can open multiple credit card accounts. They even apply for a loan once they establish a second address.
If you social security number is stolen, you may be shocked to learn where it turns up. Given the attitude towards illegal immigrants these days, many are trying to procure such numbers and identity thieves are now selling them to them.
The sale of social security numbers to people who need them to hold a job causes another massive problem for the victim.
Then there is the classic bank account scheme. The first identity thieves simply took social security numbers, opened bank accounts with them and wrote bad checks. It still happens today and banks will come looking for you eventually.
The horrific thing about identity theft is it occurs without the victim knowing it. The identity thief always uses an alternative address, so you have no way of discovering what is going on until it is much too late. Unfortunately, many consumers learn that their identity has been stolen after some damage has been done.
Sooner or later, you will figure out that you have been a victim of identity theft. It may be when collectors call or when your ATM card doesn’t work or when a credit card charge is rejected. Whatever the occasion, it will not be pleasant.
Some people discount identity theft because it is not a crime causing physical pain. Obviously, they have never had it happen to them. It can take months and even years to resolve it, so take steps to prevent it.
Should you ever become a victim, contact your banks and credit card issuers, the three major credit bureaus and file a police report.