Identity theft is one of the most prevalent crimes across the world today. The worst part about this extremely fast growing crime is that you can be a victim anywhere – on a vacation when you use your credit card, on the internet when you check your bank account, or even at a local store. Identity theft can leave your financial reputation in ruins and cost you thousands of dollars. The best way to beat it? Educate yourself. Understand what identity theft is and learn to recognize its various forms. Prior understanding of identity theft is instrumental in defeating it.
There is a big misconception that identity theft simply means that someone replicates your credit card or manages to get hold of the credit card number. This is completely far from the truth. As you will learn in this article, identity theft can encompass a vast range of crimes.
1. Character Theft
This is a very serious crime in which the criminal assumes your identity. He could then take a loan under your name, get credit cards, or even commit crimes in your name. Obviously, the implications of such theft are huge, since the onus will be on you to prove your innocence.
2. Credit Theft
This is the most common type of identity theft in which someone gets hold of your credit card details (or even your credit card) and goes on a shopping spree. In the worst case scenario, the criminal might also get accses to your Social Security Number (SSN), enabling him to take out loans in your name.
3. Social Securty Number Theft (SSN Theft)
In this very serious crime, the criminal gets hold of your SSN details. He can then use these details to evade taxes by filing them in your name (leaving you with the tax bill). If he gets access to your credit card or bank account details, he could theoretically destroy your financial reputation.
The key to protecting yourself against identity theft is to always be vigilant. Always buy from trusted sellers online, use services like Paypal to protect your credit card details when paying on the internet, be aware of any phishing attacks (in which a scammer replicates your financial institution’s website), and if you are out on a vacation, make sure that you keep your wallet in a safe and secure place.