Prior to the 1990s, most people knew very little about identity theft. It wasn’t until 1998 that legislation was passed to make it a federal crime, and since then it has become a national phenomenon. If you are still operating with just a vague understanding of what identity theft is, it is time that you learn more about this complicated crime and the many different types of identity theft to be able to better protect yourself.
There are many identity theft types, but the one that people are most familiar with is financial identity theft. It can include: making purchases with another person’s credit card, or using a social security number to obtain a credit card, car loan, mortgage, or other loan.
Tax fraud ID theft is when a criminal files fraudulent tax returns to claim the refunds. Like many identity theft types, the occurrence of this one has skyrocketed. This is due to the fact that it has proven to be extremely profitable, and the lack of action to stop it has shown that there is little that the IRS can do. All that is needed to file an online return is name, birthday, and social security number. They falsify the rest of the information, taking advantage of large deductibles to maximize the refund.
One of the more dangerous identity theft types is medical ID theft. This is when someone uses stolen personal information to obtain prescription drugs, medical care, or medical benefits. The victim may end up with large medical bills for procedures that they never received, and the perpetrator’s medical history can be mixed with their own. This can make it difficult for the victim to get insurance, and cause life threatening medical errors.
Criminal identity theft is when someone assumes another person’s identity when being investigated for a crime. They give false information to law enforcement and the victim is then accused of a crime that they likely had nothing to do with. In some cases, the victim is even arrested before the situation is cleared up.
Child ID theft is when the victim is a minor. A child’s personal information is valuable because of their clean credit history and because the theft probably won’t be discovered for many years.