The Federal Trade Commission (FDC) reported that a stolen ID is used an average of 30 times before the victim finds out about it. This makes Identity Theft the fastest growing white-collar crime in America today.
This also means it can take up to one year before you are made aware that your identity has been stolen. That statistic is so scary that as you read this article, you may already be an Identity Theft victim and not even know it.
And while this is grim news to stumble upon, you can take the preemptive steps today to protect yourself and your loved ones. To accomplish this, you need to know which types of personal information identity thieves are stealing to commit crimes. Here are five of the most common types of identity theft:
Driver’s license ID Theft
The information on your stolen driver’s license provides your name, date of birth, address and a State driver’s identity number. Thieves can use such information to apply for credit cards, loans, opening bank accounts to obtain checking accounts, buy homes, cars, boats, jewelry and anything of value — all charged to you. Most driver’s licenses also have your street address on them, so the thieves know where you live and can rob you and your home, along with committing other horrendous crimes against you and your family.
Social Security ID Theft
Thieves can use this information to get all the same luxuries listed above, and to get new Social Security cards by claiming that the old one was “lost.” They can then claim all the Social Security benefits you have been working all your adult life for, as well as welfare benefits, HUD benefits, housing vouchers, medical and dental care. They can even use it to obtain false passports so they can slip in and out of the country without apprehension.
Medical ID Theft
ID Thieves can use your medical information to have surgeries, including cosmetic surgeries to alter their appearance to avoid being recognized for previous crimes. They can also file false workers’ compensation claims, file for other Social Security benefits (such as a phony disability claim or false medical liability claims), and to have medical procedures done for legitimate health problems — but you get stuck with the enormous hospital and doctor’s bills.
Character/Criminal ID Theft
And one that we encounter quite a lot is how ID Thieves pose as you. Consequently, you could apply for a job or get pulled over by the police for a burned out tail light on your car without knowing it. But in more severe cases you might end up arrested for a bank robbery, murder or some other felony that you know nothing about. From there, it only gets difficult trying to convince the local police and court that you are really the victim and are indeed innocent of the crimes committed under your name.
Financial ID Theft
While there may be an obvious overlap between some of these types of ID Theft, this category more completely involves a criminal posting as you to empty your bank accounts and financial holdings. Criminals can remove any valuables you may have in storage in bank vaults, steal any off-shore assets and/or international financial assets or bank accounts, as well as buy and sell expensive properties such as homes, cars, land, or businesses. They can also apply for loans and credit cards or credit accounts and quickly run up the tabs on these accounts to their maximum limits, for which you will be held accountable by the companies who approved of the loans and accounts in the first place.
While these all sound scary and may seem like it can happen so often, the good news is, the FDC has quickly responded to these new crimes. Law enforcement is working closely with other government agencies to apprehend these criminals and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Thanks to the Senate and Congress, Bill’s have been introduced and new laws are being passed to help victims of Identity Theft restore their credit and good names in a more timely and efficient manner.
But rather than worry whether or not you’ll fall victim to criminal schemes today or in the next year, why not take the precautionary step of looking for protection that can back you up. Identity Protection services work night and day to make sure that the things listed here is something you never need to worry about. To get protection for you and your family from all these types of Identity Theft, visit our list of the best Identity Protection services.