What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft (or Identity Fraud) is the deliberate assumption of another person’s identity, usually to gain access to their finances or frame them for a crime. Techniques for obtaining identification information range from the crude, such as stealing mail or rummaging through rubbish (dumpster diving in the USA), stealing personal information in computer databases, to infiltration of organizations that store large amounts of personal information.
Some of the serious problems one can face in case of his/her identity is being stolen are: illegal immigration, terrorism, espionage, credit card fraudulent, etc. It is fast becoming a cause of national concern as the reports of such incidents are becoming more frequent than ever. Today, Identity theft is being considered as one of the fastest growing crimes in America.
To safeguard its citizen from the possible threats of identity theft, Govt. as well as various other regulatory bodies across the United States has formulated many laws. Many legal professional now specialize in dealing with the identity theft cases. These experts definitely are a great help for all those innocent victims who has to suffer because of online scam artists.
But it’s the responsibility of each citizen to take all necessary precautions to protect themselves being a prey of an identity theft scammer. A little alertness on your part can save you from being a victim of an identity theft crime. Take all necessary precautions you think should be taken like: avoiding public terminals for online transactions, dumping the checkbooks without destroying them properly, etc.
Some of the common Financial Identity Frauds are:
Credit Card Fraud
The most common type of financial fraud is credit card fraud where you may experience charges on your existing credit cards for goods or services you did not purchase or obtain.
Debit Card Fraud
The liability for using debit cards is different than with credit cards. There is more risk.
ATM Card Fraud
ATM cards have better security against fraud since you must use a PIN (or personal identification number). They provide a level of security known as two-factor authentication, which relates to a) something you have, i.e. the card, and b) something you know, i.e. your PIN.
True Name Identity Fraud
The most serious type of financial identity fraud is True Name Identity Fraud where the criminal assumes or co-opts your personal details and masquerades as you!
Checks are paper and can easily be lost, stolen, or counterfeited.
Criminal Identity Fraud
A significant burden of identity fraud can occur when an imposter commits a crime in your name. If the imposter has false identification, they can masquerade as you and commit felony or misdemeanor crimes. They can present false ID in the event the authorities catch them. If the crime is serious, they may go to jail and have their fingerprints taken but if the crime is less serious or if they escape the scene, you may receive a notice to appear in court for violations you are not responsible for. A criminal record can be posted nationwide to your identity and you may not realize this until you apply for a job, apply for credit, or a warrant for your arrest is issued. In some cases, the ability to clear your record is more difficult in criminal fraud verses financial fraud.
Other Types of Identity Fraud
An imposter may obtain employment in your good name. If so, your primary problem rests with the Social Security Department and the Internal Revenue Service which may believe you are underreporting income and evading taxes.
Social Security Fraud
There are a variety of abuses that are conceivable with a fraudulent SSN. A few include:
- Obtaining various types of benefits, i.e., disability, workman’s compensation, health benefits.
- Concealing income
- Filing for tax refunds
- Obtaining student loans
- Obtaining food stamps