Identity Theft is a Personal Violation
Identity theft is a crime where someone has stolen another person’s information and then used that personal data in a fraudulent or deceptive manner. Most often, identity theft and identity fraud are committed for financial gain, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Identity crimes may also be perpetrated by an identity thief trying to avoid legal or criminal actions against their own identity, or who is trying to steal benefits or services that rightfully belong to someone else. Tens of millions of Americans are victims of identity theft every year.
Learn How to Keep Your Identity Private
Individuals and businesses can each be victims of identity theft. Business identity theft can also impact their employees. It is not uncommon to wonder how to protect yourself from identity theft, especially with the sheer volume of personal data collected by organizations physically and digitally. You want to keep your identity private and protected, but it can be overwhelming when you consider all the places your personal information is kept, and all of the ways it can fall into the hands of an identity thief. The odds of identity theft are working against you every time there is another data breach.
Our personal information is everywhere. So are fraudsters.
We are all more connected than ever before throughout our digital and physical lives. Our personal information is in the hands of the government, social media sites, merchants, employers, financial institutions, healthcare organizations, and virtually anyone with whom we have a relationship. As technology advances the digital blueprint of your identity gets more defined, and the malicious threats to your sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII) increase exponentially.
Identity theft is more than just an inconvenience.
Identity theft is ugly. It’s emotionally and financially draining, and it’s a problem that can rapidly spiral out of control. Identity thieves steal your most personal information: your Social Security number, your financial and bank account information, essentially your entire digital footprint. Identity theft is not only a total invasion of your privacy, but it’s also a tremendous inconvenience that can steal hundreds of hours of your time to resolve.
Identity theft takes many different forms.
There is no limit to the methods identity thieves may use to make your PII work to their advantage. Here are a few of the most common types of identity theft:
- Synthetic Identity Theft | When a person uses a real Social Security number to create a fake identity.
- Financial Identity Theft | When a person uses an assumed identity for personal monetary gain. This may include payment fraud and credit card fraud, including new account openings and account takeovers.
- Medical Identity Theft | When a person seeks medical treatment or prescription drugs under an assumed identity.
- Criminal Identity Theft | When somebody commits (non-identity related) crimes under someone else’s identity.
- Child Identity Theft | When the victim of identity theft is a minor. Child identity theft may go undetected for years, often until the child is of age to start obtaining credit of their own.
- Tax Identity Theft | When a person uses someone else’s Social Security number to file tax returns to steal tax refunds. It may also include the use of a stolen SSN to fill out W2’s, or file for government benefits.
- Social Identity Theft | When someone uses a person’s name and photos to create a fake account on social media.
- Unemployment Identity Theft | When an unemployment claim is filed using someone else’s personal information.
- Biometric Identity Theft | When a person’s finger, face, voice, or other physical indicator are stolen or spoofed to unlock a device or gain access to an account.
- Mortgage Identity Theft | Using someone else’s home to file for a home equity loan, second mortgage, or other loan using the real estate as collateral.
- Mail Identity Theft | When a person intercepts mail to aid in identity theft, credit card or gift card theft, stolen check cashing, or other financial fraud.
- Student Loan Identity Theft | When someone uses a child’s identity to file for fraudulent student loans, grants, or other student financial advances.
- Social Security Identity Theft | Using a lost or stolen Social Security card, or obtaining a Social Security number through other means, to commit identity theft, benefit theft, credit, or other financial theft.
- Driver’s License Identity Theft | When someone uses a person’s driver’s license to avoid a legal citation, gain access to an account, or otherwise misrepresent their own identity.
- Senior Identity Theft | When the victim of identity theft is a senior citizen. Seniors are the fastest-growing population of victims, and can often go undetected for years just like child identity theft.
If you have a social security number, you are at risk.
Identity theft can happen anytime, anywhere — and to anyone. Everyone is at risk, even children under 18 years old. And, the threat to your identity privacy compounds as you get older.
- Children| About 1.3 million children are victims of identity theft annually, and 50% are younger than six years old. Child identity theft costs twice the average fraud amount compared to adults.
- College Students| The Federal Trade Commission reports college students are about five times more likely to be victims of identity theft.
- Working Adults| Nearly 75% of identity theft victims are between the ages of 20 and 59, the prime working years.
- Seniors| Every four minutes a senior citizen is a victim of identity theft. Those over age 80 experience the highest average financial losses of all age groups.
We understand that you want the best identity theft protection to combat all of the threats to your identity privacy and security, from the Dark Web to tax identity fraud, from medical identity theft to new account openings and account takeovers. IdentityForce is committed to protecting what matters most for our members and will do everything in our power to ensure that you have control over your identity.