What is identity theft?
Identity theft has been defined as a form of fraudulent activity “in which someone pretends to be someone else” or assumes “that person’s identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person’s name” (see Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Identity_theft). Adverse consequences result for the individual who is a victim of identity theft, especially if they are held accountable for the actions of the perpetrator committing identity theft.
Interestingly enough, the concept of identity theft is nothing new as the terminology was actually coined over 40 years ago in 1964. It is sort of a misnomer as such in that it isn’t actually possible to steal a person’s identity. Impersonation or “identity fraud” are more appropriate terms but the phrase identity theft has become quite commonplace. Identity theft has been sub-divided into the following 5 separate categories:
o business/commercial identity theft – the use of another person’s business name for the purposes of obtaining credit
o criminal identity theft – posing as someone else when you’ve been apprehended for committing a crime
o financial identity theft – obtaining credit, products, or services by using the identity of another person
o identity cloning – assuming an individual’s identity by using their personal information
o medical identity theft – obtaining medical attention or prescription medications by using the identity of another individual
The 9 most common identity theft threats
There are numerous ways in which an individual can steal your identity and commit identity theft. Some of them can be prevented and some can’t, but they include the following:
o Computer spyware or viruses – key-logger (log-in) tools, spyware, Trojan horses, and other “malware”
o Computers that have been discarded – identity theft experts have ways that they can extract critical personal information stored in your computer’s hard drive once you have discarded your computer
o Digging through dumpsters (dumpster diving) – identity thieves oftentimes find a gold mine in dumpsters because people do not shred personal information such as bank or credit card statements
o E-mail scams or fraudulent internet activity – Pharming and Phising scams are all over the internet and the more creative “cyber” thieves use these techniques
o Hijacking financial accounts – this can result once a thief has obtained your personal information
o Magnetic strip theft from a credit card – identity theft experts can steal critical information from the magnetic strip on your credit cards or department store credit cards
o Mail theft – valuable information can be stolen out of your mailbox such as from your bills, bank or credit card statements, etc.
o Social Engineering – the use of normal social situations to extract personal information from the victim
o Stealing company data – when an identity thief hacks into a company’s computer, your personal information is vulnerable and can easily be stolen.
If you have been the victim of identity theft, contact Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882 or email him at [email protected]. For more information about identity theft prevention and cure including free instructional videos, visit www.micreditlawyer.com