What Is Identity Theft?

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Theft of identity refers to the illegal practice of acquiring the personal or financial information of another individual to use that other's identity to execute fraudulent acts, such as carrying out unlawful transactions or making unauthorized purchases. Many methods may be used to perpetrate identity theft, and victims of this crime are often left with damaged credit, financial standing, and reputation.

Understanding Identity Theft

When someone takes your personal information, this is known as identity theft. There are a variety of approaches that one might use while committing identity theft. Some people who steal identities go through garbage cans seeking statements from people's bank accounts and credit cards.

In more high-tech approaches, stealing consumer information lists involves accessing company databases. Once identity thieves have the information they need, they may use it to their advantage to destroy a person's credit rating and the standing of other personal information.

More and more of today's identity thieves rely on computers and other digital technology to get the private information of unsuspecting victims. They may employ social networking sites, emails, texts, spyware, hacked systems, or even public documents that have been stored digitally.

Warning Signals for Victims of Identity Theft

If you do not routinely review your financial accounts, it may be difficult to determine whether or not you have been a victim of identity theft. This is particularly true if you do not regularly check your credit report.

Signs of identity theft include: receiving credit card or other invoices for things you didn't buy, receiving phone calls from debt collectors for accounts you didn't start, and having loan applications declined when you thought your credit was in excellent standing.

Unpaid checks are another red flag, as are arrest warrants, unexplained medical bills, the termination of services, the inability to access online accounts, hard inquiries into your credit report that you did not initiate, and the issuance of new credit cards in your name without your knowledge or permission.

Potential Victims of Identity Theft

 

Identity theft may affect people of all ages and backgrounds. Children and older adults are especially susceptible to identity theft since they may not grasp certain circumstances or bills, and others are often responsible for their care and money.

Children might fall prey to identity theft without even realizing it until they reach adulthood. Seniors often provide a significant amount of information to hospitals, carers, and doctors' offices, all of which are places where someone with fraudulent intentions may gain information.

Recovering From Identity Theft

Putting an end to identity theft may be a time-consuming and laborious procedure. After determining that you have been a victim of identity theft and filing a complaint with the FTC, there are a few more procedures that you need to follow to rectify the situation. To get started, you may begin by posting fraud alerts on your credit reports and then proceeding to freeze your credit reports. When you have a fraud warning on your credit report, lenders must verify your identity before establishing an account, which often takes place over the phone. When you freeze your reports, no one can access your credit information. Your credit report will be withdrawn from circulation so that creditors cannot get a copy of it. They cannot use your identity or register an account in your name if they do not have access to your report.

What Course of Action Should You Take if Someone Has Stolen Your Identity?

If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, you should first visit the website IdentityTheft.gov to file a theft with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You may also contact them by calling this number: 1-877-438-4338. You may also update any and all of your login and password credentials from that location, file a police complaint, and freeze your credit reports. Additionally, it is recommended that you cancel all of your existing credit and debit cards and apply for brand-new ones. Once you have received a report from the FTC, you should check your credit reports for any fake accounts and then dispute these accounts with the credit agencies.

What Are the Initial Signs That Someone May Have Stolen Your Identity?

 

Identity theft often presents itself in the form of unfamiliar charges on credit card or debit card statements, the issuance of new cards without the victim's knowledge or consent, incorrect information appearing on the victim's credit report, false or unnecessary medical bills, and collection notices for accounts that the victim did not initiate.

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