Types of Identity Theft

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Becoming aware of specific types of identity theft will assist in maintaining your security and ultimately your identity.

Below you will find various types of identity theft -- which can occur when you least expect it.

Child identity theft occurs when individuals target children by using their Social Security number or other information for personal gain. Such examples include: obtaining government assistance, utilities, accessing loans or other services.

Apply the same precautionary measures when securing your child’s identity as you would your own. The internet is the quickest way for personal information to be misused. Teach your child not to reveal personal information to anyone.

Criminal identity theft is when an individual commits a crime under another person’s name. If this were to happen to you, it may cause a lot of time, money and effort to clear up your record.

Use safe internet practices and habits to secure your personal information online to avoid becoming a victim.

Driver’s license identity theft occurs when a criminal gets ahold of your driver’s license and alters the photo or information to use or sell it to another as a fake identification. As a result, the fraudulent individual can obtain a driving violation and the charge will appear on your record.

To prevent from being a victim of driver’s license identity theft, secure your driver’s license. Routinely check your driving record. Report to the police as well as the Secretary of State if your license is lost, stolen or missing.

Employment identity theft occurs when individuals use a fake or stolen ID to get a job. You may learn of employment identity theft if you receive a W-2 or 1099 from an employer or government agency you have not worked for or received benefits.

If your employment information has been compromised, contact the employer or government agency for guidance.

Financial identity theft is when thieves use stolen credit to make fraudulent purchases. Thieves also use stolen bank account numbers, debit card numbers, or other personal and financial information to wipe out accounts, take out loans and/or get credit cards.

You can seek assistance from your financial institutions and top identity theft protection services to prevent such occurrences. You will be able to track credit card purchases routinely and receive notifications of potential suspicious purchases. You can monitor your financial accounts and access various safeguards for increased security.

Insurance identity theft happens when stolen identities are used to make claims and gain insurance benefits. Someone using a stolen identity could report an accident and make an auto insurance claim resulting in higher premiums. This could lead to denial of insurance or furthermore, legal action, if the insurance company discovers the fraud and blames it on you.

To avoid becoming a victim, secure all of your personal information and report to your insurance companies should any of your information be compromised.

Medical identity theft occurs when an individual’s personal information, such as medical identification numbers, is used fraudulently to access medical products and services. False information can be introduced to your medical file as a result of medical identity theft.  This can lead to financial losses and incorrect information on a victim’s medical history.

If your medical information has been lost or stolen, contact your medical insurance companies or providers.

Senior identity theft occurs when their identities are stolen for personal gain. Seniors are targeted more often for scams that involve credit and financial accounts. They live more routine lifestyles that are established and comfortable due to their financial stability and credit-worthiness. Individuals may portray themselves as financial or government agencies as a scare tactic to obtain sensitive information.

Make sure you secure your personal information from phone, internet and mail scams. Use caution when giving personal information to family members, caregivers and unfamiliar persons. 

Social media identity theft occurs when an individual steals your online identity. In the event your social media account is stolen or ‘hacked’, it may be used to steal money from family and friends, create new accounts or viciously smear your reputation.

Secure your personal information by using strong passwords and private settings to prevent becoming a victim of social media identity theft. There are fishing schemes used on social media to obtain personal information to use for personal gain. 

Social Security identity theft occurs when your Social Security number (SSN) is stolen and the perpetrator uses it for financial reward or accesses opportunities and services available to Social Security holders. Thieves can access your taxes, work history, bank accounts, credit cards, loans, government benefits and sometimes your medical records.

It is important that you secure this information to keep your SSN safe from criminals whose main purpose is to use it for personal gain. 

Synthetic identity theft is a form of theft where individuals combine real and fake information to open new credit card accounts or obtain other financial services. Using your information, they may link it with fake addresses, names, birth dates or other details to create a new identity.

Utilize the best identity theft protection services available to you if you ever become a victim. This is one of the most difficult types of identity theft to prevent. 

Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses your Social Security number to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. As a result, this could cause your return to be delayed or denied.

There are many practices to prevent becoming a victim of tax-related identity theft. Make sure you pick up mail and drop off outgoing mail at the post office. Shred all documents containing personal information. Also use anti-virus software and strong passwords as safety precautions during internet usage.