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What Is Identity Theft?

What Is Identity Theft?

What Is Identity Theft? – Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s means of identification. Identity theft is a serious problem that many consumers face today. In the United States, some state legislatures have imposed laws restricting employees from filling in their SSN (Social Security number) during the recruitment process. Companies also need to have proper information about identity theft so that they do not endanger their antifraud initiatives. Securing personal information in the workplace and at home, and looking over credit card reports, are a few ways to minimize the risk of identity theft.

What Is Identity Theft?

How Is an Identity Stolen?

Step 1: Identify the Target

The driver’s license for a targeted individual. Why was this person targeted? Perhaps the identity thief knows this individual casually. Perhaps the target was identified via research as someone that shares some commonalities with the thief, which could aid the thief’s efforts.

What Is Identity Theft?

Step 2: Obtain Information About the Target

The identity thief can obtain a copy of the target’s telephone bill, water bill, or electric bill using dumpster diving, stolen e-mail, or onsite stealing.for examples of typical items targeted by an identity thief.

What Is Identity Theft?

Step 3: Put the Stolen Information to Use

The identity thief uses the stolen information to obtain a replacement driver’s license in the target’s name using the following steps:

  1. Go to the MVA.
  2. Explain that the driver’s license has been lost.
  3. When asked for proof of identification, show the stolen utility bills.
  4. Say that the original address is no longer valid (moved).
  5. Complete the paperwork for the replacement license and the change of address.
  6. Provide a photo for the driver’s license.
  7. The replacement license will be issued to the “new” address.

Step 4: Up the Ante

The identity thief can then use the fraudulent license to obtain other fraudulent credentials using the following steps:

  1. Go to a bank where the target has an existing bank account.
  2. Apply for a new credit card, claiming to have forgotten the bank account number.
  3. Ask the bank to look it up using the target’s name and address.
  4. When asked for identification, show the replacement driver’s license.
  5. The bank will accept the ID and issue the new credit card

Step 5: Putting the New Credit to Use

With the fraudulent license and credit card in hand, the identity thief can use the credit to do the following activities:
• Visit Wal-Mart and purchase a 42” plasma TV and a home theater system.
• Make a cell phone upgrade.
• Apply for a car loan, using the replacement driver’s license as identification; when the loan officer does the credit check, it is approved since the target has a clean credit history.

Step 6: Where Is All This Leading?

Let’s add up the total to date:
• New plasma TV – $ 10,000
• New home theater system – $ 1,500
• New cell phone – $500
• New car – $28,000

That’s $40,000 in new debt due to identity theft. The target gets a huge credit card bill, while the identity thief enjoys the spoils.

Step 7: What’s Next? The Sky’s the Limit!

What other damage can the identity thief cause? The following are some of the other actions an identity thief can take:
• The thief can apply for a new bank account in the target’s name.
• The thief can shut down the target’s utility services.
• The thief can apply for a new passport using the target’s ID.

Identity Theft Is a Serious Problem

The number of violations has continued to increase. One piece of personal information is all an identity thief needs to steal someone’s identity. The following are some of the ways a person can minimize the risk of identity theft:

• Securing personal information at home
• Securing personal and business information in the workplace
• Scrutinizing credit card reports
• Utilizing local and national resources, such as the FTC’s National Identity Theft Resource Center

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