What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as your name, Social Security number, or bank account number without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. Examples include the use of your name and personal information to open new credit card accounts, establish new bank accounts, forge checks, and even apply for loans. Some clues that could indicate your identity may have been stolen include failing to receive bills or other expected mail, receiving credit cards for which you did not apply, denial of credit for reasons that are not apparent, or receiving calls from debt collectors or companies about merchandise or services you did not purchase. While you can't entirely control whether you will become a victim, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk. Many of these steps also can pertain to business practices.
How Does Identity Theft Occur?
Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to steal your personal information, including: