1. Identity Theft
Identity theft is a federal crime. It occurs when one person’s identification (which can include full name, birth date, Social Security Number, address, phone number, any account number or other personal information) is used or transferred by another person for unlawful activities.
When someone steals your identity, you can be the victim of many evils. It can ruin your credit score, get you in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, cost you days of time to fix, and even create a whole, separate “you.”
a. How does it happen?
Four out of five victims have no idea how an identity thief got their personal information. It can happen quickly and because of something as simple as throwing away a document with personal information. Here are some of the more common ways that identity thieves work.
Mail - Mail can be stolen from your home mailbox, from a postal service mail drop-box, at businesses, and even directly from postal workers.
Stolen Wallet – Many identify theft victims believe that the identity theft occurred when their purses or wallets were stolen or lost.
Trash - Thieves also steal identities from the trash- this is called “dumpster diving .” It can occur at home or at a business.
Group Identity Theft - Group identity theft has become a major problem for consumers. A thief gains access to a place that keeps records for many people. Targets have included stores, fitness centers, car dealers, schools, hospitals, and even credit bureaus. Thieves may either use the stolen identities themselves or sell them to other criminals.
Pre-texting - It's a method of identity theft that is on the rise. The identity thief poses as a legitimate representative of a survey firm, bank, internet service provider, employer, landlord, or even a government agency. The thief contacts you through the mail, telephone, or e-mail, and attempts to get you to reveal your information, usually by asking you to “verify” some data.