What is Identity Theft

Identity theft is crime which refers to stealing vital personal information like license number, social security number, credit card number etc., for financial gains or for other crimes.

The most terrifying aspect of this theft is that anyone can obtain a person’s personal data without entering the house. What’s more, when committed by experts, crimes related to identity theft are attributed to the victim himself. Most of the time, the victim is the last person to know about the crime committed under his name. The criminal can pose as another person and can commit crimes ranging from buying merchandises, services to serious ones like using information for immigration or tax documents.

There can be two types of identity thefts; one is account take over and other is true name theft. In the former, the imposter uses the information to gain access ot the account and commits frauds like changing the address, or acquiring more credit cards. The true name theft involves using the person’s vital information to open a new bank account, credit card account or phone connection.

A criminal can take over anyone’s identity to commit any number of crimes. Once they obtain the personal information, they may commit credit card frauds where they may change the billing address of the credit card account or make purchases to owners’ card. Bank and financial frauds are also very common where the criminals can obtain a duplicate ATM or debit card and make withdrawals in your name.

Internet ahs been a boon for the society but it has also given rise to identity thefts which are serious in nature. The thieves need to acquire series of characters, numbers, and passwords to gain access to such key personal information. Despite multi-level security systems, identity theft experts can find new ways to get hold of this information.

The most common method acquired by the thieves is to look through the trash bin for old bills, papers with the confidential information on it or looking over someone’s shoulder to read the password while they are making a transaction. Stealing of wallets, purses, card statements, check books or other personal records is also common. Sometimes, the criminal fills out the change of address form to divert the bills to another place. Phishing is an online technique where a fraudster tricks a person into divulging his personal information, email accounts, passwords etc. skimming is another credit card fraud where hand held credit card readers are used to steal the information from the card’s magnetic strip.

Identity thefts are on the rise these days and sometimes, can create havoc in the lives of victims. It is important to be aware of latest techniques employed by these tech savvy fraudsters to avoid being victim of identity theft.