Identity Theft

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ID Theft is basically when someone takes control of your PII (without your knowledge) and uses it to commit Fraud. The information that the thief steals can be used to obtain cash, merchandise, and/or services using the victim's name. Identity Theft can also provide a thief with false credentials for immigration or other applications.

Types of Identity Theft

True Name Identity Theft

True Name Identity Theft means that the thief uses personal info to open new accounts. The thief might open a new credit card account, establish cellphone services, or open a new checking account to obtain blank checks. The Internet has made it easier for an identity thief to use the information they've stolen because transactions can be made without any real verification of someone’s identity - all they really need nowadays are a series of correct numbers to complete the crime.

Account Takeover

Account takeover Identity Theft refers to the type of situation where an imposter uses the stolen personal information to gain access to the person’s existing accounts. Often the identity thief will use the stolen identity to acquire even more credit products by changing your address so that you never see the credit card bills that the thief runs up. [1]

Common Examples

A common way a thief gets your identity is through site promising to show you your credit report/score for free; no site has the ability to give your credit report for free (except under federal law when a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit - but these sites will not do it). The following sites promising "free credit reports/scores" are all scams.

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The only site that will lawfully give you your credit report is

Preventing Identity Theft

  • Never give verification codes to anyone you do not trust completely; if you don't trust them with your credit card, don't give them your PIN.
  • Never write down your important codes on paper, and never keep them in the same place. There are password management services that you can buy to securely encrypt your passwords onto your computer.
  • Always look for the 'HTTPS' before entering in personal information online. The 'HTTPS' means that your connection is probably encrypted, but you should also look for the encryption method. An example of a secure encryption is SSL {Secure Socket Layer}. This is probably the most common encryption used, but is also very secure.
  • Never respond to emails asking for passwords or verification codes; any trusted and reputable website or company almost never asks for your information, they will contact you in some other way, these emails are almost always scams and should be deleted.

See Also

The following sites will help you understand more about the risks of Identity Theft and how to prevent it.