Identity theft happens when somebody intentionally misuses your personal information to open false bank accounts or commit various crimes in your name. Documents usually used are a credit cards, social number, passport, bank account information, drivers license, personal identification document. Depending on extensiveness of a fraudulent activity, sometimes any single of the mentioned documents can be enough to perform it. Your identity will be completely taken over and used to deceive financial institutions to open new false accounts or grant access to your established accounts. Rest assured your monthly statements will go to the address provided by the con artist. So you might not even be aware that your money is being sucked out of the bank until you are being penalized by the bank itself because of fraudulent activities on your bank accounts. Your name could be used to do any other crime. Once you realize you’ve been a victim of identity fraud it can take a whole load of time to clean your name.
The leading problem for identity theft in our bureaucracy era where everything is written on paper and documented is the information itself. Most of us living in a civilized world are documented in numerous databases ranging from school, hospital records up to employment records. Any of these informations can be subject to a security breach. Anyone can with a few mouse clicks or phone calls dig in at least some of your personal files. Believe it or not most of your personal information is considered public to the one who knows how and where to look. And you can be sure that most people practicising identity theft are not drug addicts or similar persons who hit their lows of life looking for a quick buck, but skilled and organized professionals.
TIPS FOR PROTECTION
- Destroy checks, bank and credit card statements before throwing them away. Thieves may be in the look out for your garbage
- Don’t give any personal information to companies or individuals in whom you don’t thrust or know
- Don’t give any personal information to web sites to verify your age if you are not absolutely sure the company is legitimate. The same goes for direct telephone conversations or emails
- Look at your monthly statements for any suspicious activity
- If you don’t receive your monthly statements on time a thief may have hijacked your account and changed the address. Call your bank or financial institution and ask for any recent changes that may have happened to your account
The best way to almost stop identity theft is to educate yourself properly on this field. Apply the security tips mentioned and thus minimize the risks of ID fraud. If you are a victim of fraud you are strongly advised to report it to your local police and cancel any credit cards, bank accounts you are suspecting have been taken over. Keep a record of all conversations including name, agency, phone number, date, and time. Never give out original documents, only copies! You may also file a complaint at the FBI and Internet Crime Complaint Center.