In the course of a busy day, you may write a
check at the grocery store, charge tickets to a ball game, rent a
car, mail your tax returns, change service providers for your
cell phone, or apply for a credit card. Chances are you don't
give these everyday transactions a second thought. But an
identity thief does.
Identity theft is a serious crime. Identity
theft is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of
information such as Social Security and driver's license numbers
and uses it for their own personal gain. People whose identities
have been stolen can spend months or years and thousands of
dollars cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of a good name
and credit record. In the meantime, victims of identity theft may
lose job opportunities, be refused loans for education, housing,
or cars, and even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.
Humiliation, anger, and frustration are among the feelings
victims experience as they navigate the process of rescuing their
There are four types of identity theft crime:
- Financial ID Theft This type of
case typically focuses on your name and Social Security
number (SSN). This person may apply for telephone
service, credit cards or loans, buy merchandise, lease
cars or apartments.
- Criminal ID Theft The imposter in
this crime provides the victim's information instead of
his or her own when stopped by law enforcement.
Eventually when the warrant for arrest is issued it is in
the name of the person issued the citation- yours.
- Identity Cloning In this crime the
imposter uses the victim's information to establish a new
life. They work and live as you. Examples: Illegal
aliens, criminals avoiding warrants, people hiding from
abusive situations or becoming a "new person"
to leave behind a poor work and financial history.
- Business or Commercial Identity Theft
Businesses are also victims of identity theft.
Typically the perpetrator gets credit cards or checking
accounts in the name of the business. The business finds
out when unhappy suppliers send collection notices or
their business rating score is affected.
No matter what type of identity theft is involved, the result
is a long and sometimes arduous road to recovery. As in all
crimes, preventing the crime from occurring in the first place is
Identity theft is a complex problem. You will
not be able to work on clearing your name as fast as you'd like.
Companies move slowly, partly to protect you. Most imposters are
never found, let alone arrested or convicted. This is often not
the fault of law enforcement, but rather the nature of the crime.
So, work with the police, help them out when you can, but let
them investigate. Work on clearing your name and getting your
life back to normal.
thieves get your personal information
»How identity thieves use your personal
» Steps to Take When Identity Theft Happens
» Chart of Action
» Tips to Protect Yourself
» File a Police Report
» What You Can Do
» Download Identity Theft Coach