Identity theft is when an individual uses another person’s personal information, such as credit card information or social security number, for their own gain. Identity theft may be done by a business or by an individual who simply wants to obtain access to another individual’s financial information to use it for their own gain.
Sometimes, identity thieves will use personal information to open new credit cards or loans in the name of another individual. In many cases, this is done with the intention of draining a person of their money, such as in a bank account. Identity theft is a crime that can have serious consequences for victims.
Victims may find out that their credit card accounts have been closed, their personal information may have been obtained or they could be contacted by collection agencies for debt collectors. Victims may even find themselves subjected to harassing phone calls and letters. A victim of identity theft may not realize how much their privacy has been compromised. They may feel as if no one understands how serious identity theft is and why victims feel so vulnerable.
Identity theft is not the same thing as identity fraud. Identity fraud is a fraudulent activity that happens without consent from the victim. It occurs when someone takes a person’s credit or debit card number with the intention of either running up large credit card balances or to make purchases using the card without the victim’s permission. Identity theft is a crime that can have devastating consequences on the victims’ lives and can even lead to jail time.
Because identity theft often occurs over the telephone, victims may fear calling the number on their credit card to report the situation. While the caller is likely only interested in receiving a bill, the victim is able to tell them that they need to stop calling immediately because the credit card company will be contacting them soon. When victims are aware of identity theft, they are able to protect themselves by reporting it as soon as possible. This makes it easier to stop the thief, whether it’s from using their card to buy items that they do not want or from making purchases using their credit card to charge items that they do not need.
Identity theft can have dire consequences on victims because it can put their credit or other important information at risk. If identity thieves are able to steal the identity of an individual, they may be able to obtain their identity through various online, local, or even traditional methods. Once the identity of the individual is stolen, it can then be used to open new credit accounts and obtain new credit cards to use for their own personal gain. This can put an individual in deep debt. Other methods may also include opening up accounts at businesses and shopping stores but never paying back the money for products or services that were purchased with credit cards that are obtained through this account.