What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft, or identity fraud, occurs when someone steals information that defines your personal identity—such as your name, Social Security Number, bank account numbers, and credit card numbers—to reap the benefits of posing as you. These benefits can be financial, such as access to your accounts and credit cards, or they can be reputational in that thieves can use your identity to get a job or commit a crime.
Why Is It a Problem?
In most cases, a thief wants your identity information in order to steal financial assets from you. But even if the thief isn’t stealing money directly from you, you ultimately become responsible for loans or accounts opened with your personal information. Such accounts could affect your credit score and your ability to qualify for loans or accounts of your own.
How is Identity Theft done?
There are a multitude of ways your identity can be stolen. And, the list keeps growing. Low tech stalwarts include dumpster diving, shoulder surfing, stolen wallet and mail theft. A classic identity theft trick is to change your address and divert your personal information to the thieves. More high tech approaches include sending phony text messages directing you to dangerous websites. This is why comprehensive identity protection is so important.
What Can Happen to My Identity?
Thieves can use your identity to open new bank or store credit cards. Cloned debit cards are a growing identity threat. But there are many other ways identity theft can affect your life. With your social security number drivers licenses and passports can be illegally obtained. Forged tax returns can be submitted with big refunds mailed directly to the thieves. Identity protection is a must have today.
What Is Offline Identity Theft?Learn More
Over 89% of identity theft occurs offline. Are you protected?
Theft StatisticsLearn More
Did you know that over 11 million Americans were the victims of identity theft last year?