There are many ways in which consumers can be deceived by a constantly growing number of scams and charades.

Virtually no media or communication outlet is deemed a safe zone because people can be duped by phone, mail, email, and other online platforms.

Scammers will try to obtain personal information by luring unsuspecting victims into a sense of false security. They will remain personable, friendly, and compassionate throughout the dialogue in an effort to win trust.

Most often, the target of identity theft is personally identifiable information such as name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. With just these few pieces of data, criminals can do an immeasurable amount of damage.

Impacts of Identity Theft

There are numerous ways that identity theft can impact a consumer, and there is often a residual effect that can last for decades after the event. Credit ratings typically take a substantial hit when scammers begin requesting loans, credit cards, and other new lines of credit with stolen identity information.

Replacement of identification documents, countless hours spent on the phone disputing transactions or charges, and the potential impact to employment searches are just a few of the common inconveniences of identity theft.

The accumulating costs of battling identity theft typically last for several years beyond the actual event. The incalculable costs of the physical, mental, and emotional stress affect every victim of identity theft.

Aggravated Identity Theft

Most people do not realize there is a difference in the severity of theft charges, or they do not know exactly what is aggravated identity theft. Aggravated identity theft is essentially the use of someone’s personal identifying information during the commission of a crime.

In this case, the information could have been given voluntarily but was used by a criminal for something other than the intended purpose. Even though the information was not actually stolen, it may have been used in the preparation of false tax returns, mortgage loan documents, insurance applications, and other fraudulent purposes.

The overall victim impact in these circumstances will depend on the exact nature of the crime. Instances of aggravated identity theft on a federal level are punishable by a two-year mandatory minimum sentence in a federal prison system.

Identity Theft Protection

Now that the question of what is aggravated identity theft has been answered, the bigger question remains. How can a person protect their personal information?

Suppose a restaurant server opts to take down credit card information and supply themselves with a hefty tip. This scenario happens virtually every single day, and consumers are often not aware of the unauthorized transactions until their monthly statement arrives. By then, a significant amount of damage could have already occurred.

Identity theft protection companies can provide account monitoring services that will alert consumers immediately to any suspicious activity on a number of different accounts. Bank accounts, credit and debit cards, and other accounts can be simultaneously monitored to prevent unwanted and unauthorized charges from being processed.