What Exactly Is Identity Theft?

fraudWhat do you think of when you see those two words? Possibly it makes chills go down your spine if you have been a victim, or know someone else who has been. Possibly you have heard the phrase, but don’t know what it is. Maybe both of the above apply, or maybe neither apply. This article is for anyone who wants to know what identity theft is and what types of identity theft there are. There are many different types to learn about and from which to protect yourself.

First of all, what IS identity theft? Simply put, it’s when someone gets your personal information and tries to pretend to be you for their personal gain. It is when someone tries to pretend to be you in some circumstance for some reason. It is a crime that is everywhere and continues to be on the rise. You can’t guarantee that your personal information is safe. There is always the potential of someone watching long enough and being savvy enough to get your personal information. Without getting too much into it, people steal others’ identities because there is something they want that they can’t get with their identities.

I don’t know if you realized that there are five main types of identity theft. The first identity theft that people often think about is financial. This can include: credit card, child support, government benefits and charity, just to name a few. This type of identity theft is all about getting money, in whatever form the thieves can get. A common way to get this information of late is either e-mails or phone calls phishing for your personal information. Chances are the credit card companies and banks/credit unions with which you have accounts won’t need to send an e-mail or phone call to get your personal information again. These are easy ways to protect yourself. If in doubt, don’t give out any news until you speak directly with the financial institutions with which you have accounts. However, this form of identity theft only makes up less than 18% of all of the identity thefts in the world today.

What do you mean? There’s more? Yes, in fact, one of the identity theft crimes on the rise today is medical identity theft. Some thieves like to take others’ medical records to use as their own. They might do this because their personal records are lacking and they need a medical identity with better health than their own. They also might want to hurt another by giving the wrong information so others will suffer. Whatever the reason, medical identity theft is rising as a form of identity theft in the nation.

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Another form of identity theft is Social Security identity theft. There are many people who are immigrating from other countries into this country that don’t have their social security number of their own, so they like to steal ours. Many places in the nation, you can’t even get a job or an apartment without a social security number. Think about all that you use your social security number for. What could you do without it? What can you NOT do without it? It’s a pretty important set of numbers that identify you in a way you couldn’t otherwise be identified.