Identity Theft on the Internet
What Is Identity Left?
another person uses another person's identity without their
permission. Often the identity is used to secure credit, obtain goods
or services and drain bank accounts of unsuspecting victims. (See Specific
.) Many times the victim is unaware of the theft until
they attempt to get more credit themselves, or until a few months of
non-payment on the new accounts has passed. It's
a very personal business
the past, identity theft was done on a one-on-one basis. A thief
may have stolen your mail to get bank account information, or
scavenged through your trash at home or the office. A restaurant
worker may have made a copy of your credit card number for later use,
or ran it through an extra time to pay for some of his purchases.
Today, with the advent of Internet-connected servers, identity theft
can occur on a massive scale. Millions of credit card numbers, home
addresses and social security numbers have been stolen from online
databases, and these
databases aren't just those of online merchants.
Just having a credit card can expose you to online theft.
How Big Is the Identity Theft Problem?
Identity theft is a multi-billion dollar problem. According to the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) study which concluded in the summer of 2003, 27
million Americans have been victimized by identity theft since 1998,
and 10 million of those were victims in the past year. They went on
to show that in the past year, businesses lost nearly $48 billion to
identity theft. Consumers reported $5 billion in out-of-pocket
What To Do
The Fraud Advisory Panel, sponsored by ICAEW and others, warns of:
- Application Fraud
- Account Take-Over
- Wholesale Identity Theft
- Business Identity Fraud
Be alert of the types of identity theft, and watch for the signs of
theft. These include:
- Missing Bank or other Financial Statements
- Unknown Credit Appearing on Your Credit Report
- Creditors Calling Regarding Debts You Know Nothing About
- Monitoring Bank and Credit Card Accounts
- Calls From Credit Card Issuers or Banks