What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone acquires a piece of your personal information and uses it to commit fraud.
How Is Personal Information Taken?
Information can be gathered from lost or stolen wallets, pilfered mail, a data breach, spyware, phishing scams, and improperly discarded paper documents.
Results of Identity Theft
Depending on the severity of the case, the consequences of identity theft vary greatly. There have been cases where arrested criminals will use the names, DOB’s, and SSN’s of another. Innocent persons have discovered that they have criminal records because of a misused ID. There was also a case where a woman withdrew $13,000 from a victim’s bank account before getting caught.
How to Prevent ID Theft
There are a number of ways to prevent your identity from being stolen, such as shredding paper documents and debit/credit cards before disposal.
For a full list, please see these sites:
What to Do If Information Gets Stolen
Depending on what is compromised, there are different steps to take to prevent any severe consequences. Here are some resources:
The are some statistics on the number of victims: http://www.privacyrights.org/ar/idtheftsurveys.htm
Here is a more in-depth survey on ID theft: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2003/09/synovatereport.pdf