Identity thief is a form of stealing another person's identity in order to obtain credit or other resources in that person without his/her acknowledgement. Victims of identity thief are held responsible for adverse consequences,for instance, wiping out victims savings without they know it. However, "determining the link between data breaches and identity thief is challenging, primarily because identity thief victims do not know how their personal information was obtained," (Wikipedia). For more information, go to WIKIPEDIA PAGE
Types of Identity Thief
- Criminal Identity Thief: posturing as another person during investigation or upon arrest by providing another person's name, date of birth, address or social security number. The imposter fraudulently obtained another person's identification documents and presents them to law enforcement. Or the imposter verbally provides another person's personal information without any photo ID, for example when the imposter is arrested for traffic violations. Criminal identity thief victims may not know there are traffic tickets issued under their names. Visit Identity Thief Resource for steps to clear your name.
- Financial Identity Thief: commonly known as credit card fraud, incurred a huge amount of debt by using another person's credit card or obtained mortgages/loans using other person's name and credit.
- Identity Cloning: the most dangerous type of indentity thief because the imposter impersonates another person in daily life. The impersonator wants to become someone else to conceal his/her own true identity for various reasons including illegal immigrants.
- Medical Identity Thief: using another person's information to get medical care or drugs.
- Child Identity Thief: using a child's identity to get a driver license or other personal information.
- Synthetic Identity Thief: the most difficult one to detect because they combine a real social security number and a fake name, date of birth and address.
How to obtain and exploit identity thief
There are many ways or techniques on how to get another person's information and assume his/her identity, the followings are the most common and the easiest way to obtain other's personal information:
- Shoulder surfing: obtain personal information in public areas including listening in on other's conversation when he/she gives out credit card number over the phone to a rental car company
- Dumpster driving: going through your garbage to get copies of your bank statements, mails or anything that has your name, date of birth or even a telephone number on it
- Browsing through social networking sites to obtain personal information
- Retrieve personal data from disposed computers or hardware
- False job postings to receive resumes and obtain their personal information
What to do if one becomes identity thief victim
- Contact Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report the situation
- Contact Social Security Department if you suspect your social security number has been fraudulently used
- Call your major credit card hotline to report the situation and cancel your credit card
- Call your bank to request a new checking account number if you suspect there are suspicious charges on your bank statement
Here is a video showing you how to prevent identity thief