What is identity theft?

So what exactly is identity theft? Identity theft occurs at an increasingly alarming rate every day around the world. Many of our clients are past victims of identity theft. Identity theft is the result of someone illegally using your personal identification information (IE. your name, Social Security number, or credit card number) without your permission and with the intent to commit fraud or other crimes.

The FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. (See this article) In fact, the odds show that you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.

There are primarily only two variations of identity theft; account assumption and actual name theft. Account assumption identity theft refers to the type of situation where an imposter uses the stolen personal information to obatin access to the person’s existing accounts. Frequently the identity thief will use the stolen identity to obtain even more credit products by changing the address so that the target never see the credit card bills that the thief runs up.

True name identity theft means that the thief uses personal information to open new accounts. The thief might open a new credit card account, establish cellular phone service, or open a new checking account in order to obtain blank checks. With the advanet of the internet, this form of theft has increased dramatically because transactions can be made without any real verification of someone s identity. All a thief really needs today is a series of correct numbers to complete the crime.