What is Identity Theft?
The Federal Trade Commission has reported that around 9 million Americans have their identities targeted and stolen every year, and those are only reported cases. Identity theft is a term thrown around by many news stories and commercials, but what exactly is it?
Identity theft is the act of stealing another person's information and using as if it were their own information, whether it be for financial gain or any other fraudulent activity. A common misconception is that identity theft is used to steal only certain types of information such as social security numbers or credit card numbers. Identity theft actually covers many different items.
Someone who commits identity theft can create a open a new credit line, rent an apartment, sign up for utilities, open a bank account, or even get a job, all under your name. The room for fraud is tremendous as they are essentially becoming you, via your information. Most people don't know their identity has been stolen until they're called by a debt collector.
Identity theft can occur via many methods. Phishing, pretexting, dumpster diving, social network engineering, skimming, and of course, just outright stealing. Listed below are some other methods to perform identity theft: