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ID Theft Consumer Guide



What is Identity Theft?

You likely have heard the term “identity theft” or “ID theft” and yet you may not know what exactly is meant by identity theft. By way of this article, you will provided with an overview of what identity theft is all about.


Basic Definitions of Identity Theft

When it comes to identity theft, there are a number of basic and commonly utilized definitions that have gained wide acceptance. By considering these basic definitions of identity theft you will have a better idea of what is involved in the crime of identity theft.

One of the most basic definitions of identity theft or ID theft is:

“Identity theft occurs when somebody steals your name and other financial and personal information for fraudulent purposes. In other words, identity theft is a form of identity crime in which somebody uses a false identity to commit a crime.”

With that in mind, a more thorough and complete definition of identity theft (or ID theft or iJacking) actually occurs when a person wrongfully acquires another individual’s personal and financial data for their own economic gain. In the cases of identity theft, a person essentially impersonates another and removes or illicitly acquires the victim’s identity.



Techniques by Which an Identity Can be Stolen

There are a number of different techniques that are utilized by individuals intent on stealing a person’s identity. These various techniques include:
  • stealing personal and financial information from computer databases
  • a process called phishing (which is the process of impersonating a trusted business organization or similar type of entity -- like a bank or credit card company, for example -- and working to acquire information through electronic communication like an email or similar device
  • stealing mail
  • rummaging through waste containers and trash cans -- which is commonly called dumpster diving
  • eavesdropping or spying on transactions to obtain person data -- which is also known as shoulder surfing
  • spam -- particularly spam that encourages you to respond to alleged contests, attempt to obtain good deals


Common Identity Theft Themes

When it comes to identity theft, there are some common themes that are prevalent in this day and age. One of the most common types of identity theft involves the theft of credit card information. People obtain basic personal and financial information about you and then use your credit card number to obtain goods, services and cash.

Another common identity theft theme involves the theft of your financial account information. Armed with this information, an identity thief will take off and withdraw money from your bank account -- literally drain your bank account.

Finally, and interestingly, a good share of identity theft involves the appropriation of your personal and financial information to open up accounts for services from different utilities, particular from cellular or mobile phone providers.

Of course, as with so many different crimes in this day and age, the types of identity thefts that are occurring are mutating and evolving all of the time.


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