Identity theft is a major crime that happens to millions of people every year. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months and years trying to clean up the mess the thieves have made of a good name and credit record. There are many different types of identity theft and ways to deal with it. Identity theft is very serious and stolen identities are used to commit many other crimes. Some of the specific types of identity theft besides personal identity theft, include tax related identity theft, business related identity theft, child identity theft, and medical identity theft. Identity theft can cause serious challenges for individuals and businesses and there are several steps to take to help clear up identity theft as well as steps to follow to prevent identity theft from occurring again.
According to the Transunion website, “Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. The number of identity theft incidents has reached 10 million a year and every minute about 19 people fall victim to identity theft”(TransUnion LLC). Identity theft is a very serious problem and unfortunately is happening to many people everyday. According to a book, “Take Charge” written by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Secret Service, “The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act enacted by Congress in October 1998 makes identity theft a federal crime. Violations of the federal crime are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Social Security Administrator’s Office of the Inspector General. Federal Identity theft cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice” (U.S.S.S. 491). Under the law, “identity theft take places when someone knowingly transfers, possesses or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law”(U.S.S.S. 491). Some of the types of personal information that identity thieves use include social security numbers, credit card numbers, cellular telephone serial numbers, or any other piece of information that can be used to identity a specific individual.
Once identity thieves have a person’s personal information they can use it to drain a person’s bank account, run up charges on a credit card, get medical treatment with a person’s health insurance as well as many other things. The Federal Trade Commission is an independent federal agency of the U.S. federal government that maintains fair and free competition; as well as enforcing anti-trust laws and educating the public about identity theft. According to their website some of the ways identity thieves get a person’s information include, “getting it from businesses or other institutions by stealing records or information while they’re on the job, steal your mail also known as “dumpster diving”, get credit reports by abusing employer’s authorized access to them, steal debit/credit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as skimming, steal your wallet or purse, steal personal information through email or phone by posing as legitimate companies known as phishing”(FTC). Once an identity thief obtains a person’s personal information there are many things they can do with the information. Some of the common things identity thieves use a person’s personal information include, opening a credit card in their name, may call credit card issuer to change the billing address on credit card account, establish phone or wireless service, open bank accounts, counterfeit checks, file for bankruptcy under a person’s name to avoid paying debts that they’ve incurred, buy a car, get identification in a person’s name with their own picture such as a driver’s license, as...
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