Reports about identity theft tend to focus on the theft of credit information, but that’s just one form of ID theft. There are other ways identity thieves prey on consumers that everyone should be aware of.
Credit card fraud
This common type of identity theft can include anything from stealing and using someone else’s credit card fraudulently to obtaining a new credit card in someone else’s name. While credit card fraud is still a common type of identity theft, it has been declining in recent years, as other kinds of identity theft rise in prominence.
Sometimes people steal someone’s identity in order to use their health insurance to pay for medical care or prescriptions. There have even been cases where a patient gives birth in a hospital using a stolen identity. This kind of identity theft can lead to serious consequences like denial of medical care, collection actions or loss of insurance coverage.
Criminal identity theft
When a criminal is caught or questioned by law enforcement and provides your name when asked for identification, you become the victim of an especially pernicious kind of ID theft. Even if they learn the true identity of the criminal, your name is added to that person’s file as a “known alias.”
This has a lasting negative impact. Law enforcement will not remove your name from the criminal file, so every time you are stopped for routine traffic violations, you could be handcuffed until things are sorted out. The authorities may enroll you in a victim’s database and/or provide an official letter explaining the situation.
When pressed on this issue, some authorities suggest that the best course of action for the ID theft victim is to legally change his or her name. That means this kind of criminal identity theft has a permanent effect. Learn how to fight back against identity thieves so that you don’t become a victim.