A Comprehensive Explanation of Identity Theft
Identity theft can occur in many different forms and may affect one’s life in numerous ways. The most familiar and common form is financial identity theft.
Everyone has an interest in protecting their identity. However, when protecting your personal information, you should not just protect your credit. Whether you realize it or not, you are also protecting your medical records, criminal records, business assets, and your whole identity. For you to know and understand how important it is to protect yourself, it’s vital to understand the extent of this growing crime and the ways this can affect your life.
Identity theft may be divided into 5 main categories, which include criminal identity theft, commercial identity theft, financial identity theft, medical identity theft, insurance identity theft and ID cloning.
Financial Identity Theft
This happens when criminals use an individual’s information including their name, address, birth date or SSN to commit financial fraud. Using the right information, thieves may obtain loans and credit cards, write bad checks, open accounts, establish phone service, withdraw money or make purchases like buying a car or a house. In terms of credit theft, thieves could use your existing credit card account wherein they can make changes on your billing address so that any unauthorized charges may go unnoticed for a long time. Using your name, criminals may also open new cards. More often than not, victims of credit card fraud are not aware of unauthorized accounts until they started reviewing their report several months later.
In financial identity theft, the costs can be difficult to overcome and may be long lasting. Even when financial losses are small, affected parties may need to wait for years for recover a good credit score and may have difficulties in getting approval for mortgages and loans.
Criminal Identity Theft
This kind of identity theft happens when thieves use a person’s name to hide or commit from crimes, file tax returns, acquire employment, and many more. Criminal identity can also occur during an arrest where criminals can provide your innocent personal information to the policemen. Oftentimes, criminals get identification with the name of their victims and present this to the law enforcement. If they have a trial and don’t show during the court date, the warrant for arrest will be addressed into the name of the victim. This may also affect their employment opportunities. This may happen when potential employers run a background check and finds criminal activities that victims weren’t even aware of.
This happens when imposters live their entire lives using another identity like one’s name and SSN or every information about the victim. In several cases, imposters will even tell one’s life story as if it were there’s. Other times, cloned individuals are deceased. To detect this kind of identity theft is the multiple addresses used under your name.
When compared to other types of identity theft, ID clothing can be frightening and damaging. The reason behind it is that if imposters are successful, this may affect you each aspect of your life, which could affect your criminal, medical, and financial records.
Medical Identity Theft
This occurs when a thief uses the victim’s personal information to get medical services or products without his or her consent. Not only it can affect financially, it can also result in erroneous information that can be inputted into the medical history or files of a person. As results of medical identity fraud, victims might find themselves being denied when taking advantage of their health coverage or may experience sudden increase on their premiums. It may also result to inappropriate treatment and misdiagnosis. Among the forms of identity theft, medical identity theft can be the hardest to repair because of the limited resources available and rights of the victims on this crime.
Commercial Identity Theft
This kind of identity theft may occur in various ways. Criminals can open or establish a business using someone’s name or any personal information. They may also use private business details to access accounts, get loans, and make unauthorized transactions. Criminals can also target a business, clients of the business, and employees of the business. If the damage is serious, this could result to anything that might damage one’s reputation to bankruptcy.
Don’t put yourself at risk of becoming an identity theft victim. Take steps to prevent it before it happens. This includes changing the way you share information online, having more secure passwords, and monitoring your credit with an identity protection service.
My name is Jennifer Price and I started StopIdentityFraud.org because internet privacy & security are issues that are extremely important to me. As a private network security consultant, too often do I see the damage that can be caused by identity theft & fraud. It’s my goal to help educate people about id theft and how to better protect themselves against it. Feel free to get in touch with me here or on any of my social media profiles.