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Home > Free Security Articles > Resource Articles > Identity Theft On The Internet January 17, 2018

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Identity Theft on the Internet

What Is Identity Left?

Identity theft is when 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 Problems.) 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.

In 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 expenses.

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

Advise? 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

See Also

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