Common types of identity theft

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains, without your knowledge or agreement, personally identifiable information about you, such as your date of birth, address or credit card numbers, with the intent to conduct fraud or other unlawful acts. Unfortunately, many Americans are all too familiar with identity theft and its repercussions.

Identity theft is not only costly, it can also negatively impact your credit report and even lead to criminal charges. Over time, identity thieves have developed various methods to obtain people’s identities for their own benefit. It’s essential to stay vigilant and take steps to protect your personal information.

Three common types of identity theft

These days, most people are familiar with at least one of the following types of identity theft:

  • Your Social Security number is the number one sought-after piece of information by identity thieves, as it can be used for a myriad of fraudulent activities such as applying for government benefits, jobs, credit cards and more. Identity thieves may also sell your number on the dark web, where other online criminals can buy it and use it for their own illicit purposes.
  • Financial identity theft refers to the act of using someone else’s identity to gain personal financial benefits. A common form of financial identity theft is credit card fraud, which was reported more than 390,000 times in 2021. Other forms of financial identity theft include creating new financial accounts using the victim’s name or gaining unauthorized access to their online banking account.
  • Elder fraud occurs when identity thieves prey on people aged 60 or older. Scammers can do this in several ways, most frequently by posing as reliable sources like the IRS or the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and making vishing calls.

The scams listed above are just the tip of the iceberg. If you have been a victim of identity theft, it’s crucial that you act quickly and seek assistance to stop the scammers.

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