Typically, people think of identity theft as a theft one’s credit information. Someone gets a hold of your credit card, pretends to be you long enough to use the card, and your identity has officially been stolen. But ID theft takes many more forms than that.
Credit card fraud
This is the common type of identity theft we were just referring to. This 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 we even a case where someone gave birth in a hospital using a stolen identity. The identity theft victim was shocked to learn she had just given birth in a hospital hours away!
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 the police 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 usually leads to many years of headaches. The police will not remove your name from the criminal file, so every time you are stopped for routine traffic violations, you’ll find yourself in handcuffs until the police sort things out. They may give you an official letter explaining the situation, but that rarely is enough to satisfy the police officer who apprehends you.
When pressed on this issue, authorities admit that the best course of action for the ID Theft victim is to change his or her name. That makes this kind of criminal identity theft one of the worst and most permanent kinds of identity crime.
Whatever kind of identity theft you suffer from, start with downloading our eBook Identity Theft: Protecting and Restoring Your Good Name, which covers step by step what you need to do if you are a victim.