A Manhattan-based man was sentenced to jail for 7–15 years in state prison, convicted of a couple of identity thefts in 2018.
After watching the news like that, you might want answers to a few questions. What did that man do to get himself in so much trouble? What’s that term Identity Theft means? How did he get the sensitive information of affected people?
According to the annual Data Book by Consumer Sentinel Network, 1.4 million cases of fraud were reported in 2018. These cases accounted for a total loss of 5.1 billion USD in the US.
Here are the answers to your quiz about identity theft.
How does the Thieves Plan Identity Theft?
Thieves intended to use false credentials of other persons lure their targets cleverly. They trap the targeted persons to get their personal information without offending them.
In the above-discussed case study, the convicted man pretended to be the CEO of a music company. He asked his potential employees to share their personal information for paying their salaries. Similarly, he instructed one of his employees to buy a Lexus 2007 for official work. On investigation, the Manhattan thief was pleaded guilty of a first-degree crime in identity theft, criminal possession to Lexus 2000 and forgery in the second degree.
What is Identity Theft?
ID theft became a federal crime in the US in 1998. The US Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act due to an alarming rise in the malpractice of stealing Identities. According to Identity theft law, use of false credentials for any unlawful act will subject the criminal to a felony.
Thieves deliberately steal someone else’s personal information and use it for financial and criminal gains. They try to access SSN or bank statements of easy-going people by different tricks.
What do Thieves do with the Personal Information of Victims?
Thieves use the false credentials of other people in buying goods or ordering a new credit card. Yes, you get it right, they use compromised credentials to pay their rent or buying a new car.
Thieves keep on enjoying different benefits at the emotional and financial cost of victims. They use the information of victimized persons in the following acts.
- Tax refund
- Issuance of loan
- Ordering new credit cards for their shopping extravaganza
- Using and stealing rental cars
- Insurance frauds; using your medical services for their ailments
No one exactly knows the limits of their criminal advances in using your personal information for their benefits.
Kinds of ID Theft
Identity theft is a big game plan of the criminally minded people. No matter how much safety measures users add to their data, they try to find peepholes in the system. Javelin Research report suggests that ID theft is the topmost received complaint to the FTC for the last two decades.
Id thieves keep on improvising the use of false credentials for trespassing ever-changing security barriers. But these are the mostly occurred type of ID thefts.
- Driver License Theft: using the stolen driver license to purchase vehicles
- Online Shopping Scams: use of someone else’s billing methods to pay for retail transactions
- SSN Theft: using social security number to order new credit instruments
- Credit/Debit Card Fraud: use of stolen cards to pay bills and expenses
- Account Takeovers: taking over your financial accounts by the data breach and other shady means
- Tax ID Theft: exploiting your SSN and name to get tax refunds
- Child ID Theft: applying for loans and cars by using the information of a child with no credit history
- Medical ID Frauds: use of your medical insurance for healthcare benefits
- Online Lending Frauds: applying online for small loans which require no or lenient verification
- Employment ID Frauds: using your personal information on a job place; hoping the victim would pay income tax
Safety Measures for Preventing ID Thefts
An ID Theft victim spends hours in cleaning the mess occurred due to compromised information. Informing the authorities, filing disputes, and estimating the damage done to the credit status take hours and months to reverse. It is said by the wise folks that prevention is always better than running after the cure. You should use the following routine to prevent identity theft.
- Keep the hard copy of your documents safely and do not dispose off them in trash
- Maintain a record of your transactions
- Review your credit report annually or bi-annually
- Add password protection to your accounts
- Buy the credit monitoring services to keep your credits score in check
All these measures do not ensure the 100% security from the ID thieves. However, these measures can prevent you from becoming easy prey for ID theft.