Identity theft is simply the intentional use of another person’s identity, either by means of deception or as a means to obtain credit in the victim’s name and possibly to his or her detriment or loss. Identity theft can also be called a form of cyber-theft. With the increase in the number of cases of identity theft, more awareness is being created about this crime. The United States government has created a variety of laws, policies and tactics aimed at protecting individuals against the risks of identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when an individual steals someone else’s personal information and uses it for their own benefit. In most cases, the victim does not even know that his or her information was stolen, since all the personal information is encrypted. It is possible that a victim’s personal information could be used without him or her knowing of it.
Personal information can include Social Security numbers, driver license numbers, credit card numbers, or any other information which can be used for identity theft. Identity thieves can even use a stolen identity card, which they can use to make purchases in a store. This is how identity theft can happen in so many different ways.
The Federal Trade Commission has published a comprehensive guide to protecting the financial well-being of Americans. The guide covers all aspects of identity theft, including fraud prevention, preventing identity theft, and protecting one’s rights if they have been victimized. This guide explains how the credit reporting industry works, including how it determines what your credit score is and how your payment history is evaluated.
A recent report by The New York Times detailed how identity theft can occur online and on social networking sites. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace allow users to create profiles and connect with others. The company Facebook uses to determine what information you can share online includes your personal information, which is then sold to other companies who sell it to advertisers in order to market their products and services.
Other things that your credit report may contain are credit card or bank account numbers, passwords, telephone numbers and dates of birth. Many of these items are very sensitive and could cause your identity to be compromised. In order to protect yourself from identity theft, you should never give out any information over the phone, on a social networking site or through email.