What is identity theft?

Not open for further replies.


What is identity theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personally identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft.

The crime takes many forms. Identity thieves may rent an apartment, obtain a credit card, or establish a telephone account in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice charges you didn't make or until you're contacted by a debt collector or law enforcement.

Identity theft is serious. While some identity theft victims can resolve their problems quickly, others spend hundreds of dollars and many days repairing damage to their good name and credit record. Some consumers victimized by identity theft may lose out on job opportunities, or be denied loans for education, housing or cars because of negative information on their credit reports. In rare cases, they may even be arrested for crimes they did not commit.

It should be noted that almost all AFF crimes lead to ID Theft since the victim's personal information has been given to the scammers.
What's the difference?

Identity theft: Has no universal definition but "can refer to the preliminary steps of collecting, possessing, and trafficking in identity information for the purpose of eventual use in crimes such as personation, fraud or misuse of debit card or credit card data."

Identity fraud: Refers to "the subsequent actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person in connection with various crimes. Identity theft therefore takes place in advance of and in preparation for identity fraud."

Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/News/Canada/article/278913

De Master Yoda

Step up security and prevent identity fraud


Following recent news of bank customers' details being sold on eBay, Fairinvestment.co.uk is offering tips on how to avoid identity and credit card fraud.

It may seem futile, going to great lengths to protect your personal details when somebody could buy them on eBay, but this is a rare case and it is worth making an effort to protect your identity.

Fairinvestment.co.uk credit cards spokesperson, Matt Edwards warns: "More than 100,000 people fall victim to identity fraud each year, and as technology advances, so too are techniques. Identity fraudsters are incredibly inventive and are constantly finding new ways to rip you off, so it is well worth doing all you can to protect your personal details."

There are numerous methods now used by thieves to steal your identity, including credit card cloning, phishing, rummaging through your rubbish bin and now, buying or stealing details.

As a result, there are a number of actions that can be taken in order to prevent identity theft. Top protective tips from Fairinvestment.co.uk, include:

• Get a free credit report – Fairinvestment.co.uk offers a free credit report service that could help you track your finances and make sure nobody else has applied for credit in your name

• Keep all PIN numbers and online passwords hidden, even from those you feel you can trust – if it gets into the wrong hands, there is a chance you would not be insured if you had inadvertently given the fraudster your PIN or password

• Do not open emails from people you do not trust or recognise, they could contain a virus or could be a means of phishing whereby they try to get your personal information such as passwords through false log in pages etc.

• When paying for goods over the internet, pay with a credit card where possible because credit cards offer insurance against identity fraud that debit cards do not

• Also, when buying on the internet make sure that the padlock symbol is on the screen and that the web address starts with https:/ rather than http:/

• Shred all personal letters, bills and correspondence before putting it in the bin – you would be surprised at the lengths fraudsters go to in order to get their hands on your details

• Use internet banking and check all your accounts regularly – ideally at least once a day – that way if something has gone awry you can sort it out quickly

• Make sure your computer is protected with relevant anti virus and firewalls to prevent hackers

• Take extra care at cash points to cover your PIN and check for unusual devices – some cameras designed to get your PIN are the size of a small needle

Speaking of the need to protect personal information, Matt Edwards added: "It is a sad fact that we have to be so protective over our details but that's just the way it is. If you fail to do these things you are putting yourself at risk to those who make a living through fraud.

"All you can do is be as careful as possible and keep a constant eye on your finances. That way if anything does happen you can get it put right as soon as possible rather than being slack and risking losing thousands.

"One of the best ways to tell if you have been a victim of identity theft or fraud is to get a credit report which will reveal whether anybody else has been applying for credit under your name. It will also give you an understanding of where you are with your finances if you are thinking about applying for a mortgage, loan or credit card."
Not open for further replies.