Identity Theft

Defining Identity Theft

Identity theft is when someone takes, uses, sells or transfers the "personal identifying information" of someone else without that person's approval, with the intent to use the information for an unlawful purpose.

Impact of Identity Theft

Identity thieves use the information to:

  • Call your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, ask to change the mailing address on the credit card account. As bills will go to the new address, it may take some time before you realize there is a problem.
  • Open a new credit card account using your name, date of birth and social security number. When they do not pay the bills, the delinquent account is put on your credit report.
  • Establish phone or wireless service in your name.
  • Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account.
  • File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they have incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction.
  • Take out auto loans in your name.
  • Give your name to the police during an arrest. If they do not show up for their court date, an arrest warrant is issued in your name.
  • Use your social security number to obtain employment credentials.

Common Kinds of Identity Theft

The most common kinds of identity theft are:

  • Bank fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Employment-related fraud
  • Government document or benefit fraud
  • Loan fraud
  • Phone and utility fraud