Identity Theft Infographic

By: Alyssa Tracy

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person´s private identifying information, usually for financial gain.

How does identity theft happen?

Dumpster diving, which is sifting through trash, is one way they can gain access to you records or mail. Theives can easily steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, checks, tax information and more.

Types of identity theft

There are eight main identity thefts:

1. Financial identity theft- Financial identity theft can mean two things. First, the victim´s bank accounts and credit cards are accessed and used illegally. Second, the victim´s identity is used to take on loans and get new credit cards.

2. Driver´s license identity theft- Once a person´s driver´s license is stolen, the criminals can find ways to use the ID. It may even be sold off to someone who looks passably similar to the real ID owner.

3. Criminal identity theft- If the ¨new¨ owner of the ID commits a crime and is cited or arrested, he or she can make use of the stolen ID to give policemen a fake identity, resulting in a criminal record being created in that person´s name.

4. Social security identity theft- The Social Security Number (SSN) is very important, and people should learn not to be cavalier about this information. Identity thieves can make use of the SSN to defraud the government and steal off benefits meant for the victim.

5. Medical identity theft- This can be used to commit fraud involving health insurance and medical coverage. Thieves can use the victim´s identity to make false claims.

6. Insurance identity theft- This is related to the medical identity theft. Once the crime is committed, the victim is left holding the bag. Effects of identity insurance include difficulties in settling payments, potentially higher insurance premiums, and quite possibly trouble in acquiring medical coverage later on.

7. Child identity theft- Just as with college students, children are not likely to be concerned about their credit reports at all. What most parents don´t realize is that their child´s information and SSN can be used by thieves to defraud the government, create documents, commit crimes, and apply loans.

8. Synthetic identity theft- In this type of identity theft, the thieves use information from several different victims to create a new identity. Although the primary victim here is the lender, it can still negatively affect the person whose name or Social name or Social Security ID is used.

How do you prevent identity theft?

There are four things you can do to prevent identity theft:

1. Secure your social security number

2. Don´t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birth date, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online

3. Watch out for ¨shoulder surfers¨

4. Collect mail promptly