identity theft

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identity theft,

the use of one person's personal information by another to commit fraud or other crimes. The most common forms of identity theft occur when someone obtains another person's social security number, driver's license number, date of birth, and the like and uses it to open a fraudulent bank, credit card, cellular telephone, or other account, or to obtain false loans. Criminal identity theft, the most common nonfinancial type, occurs when someone gives another's personal information to a law enforcement officer when he or she is arrested. In addition to the financial losses resulting from identity theft, the person whose personal information has been used will have an erroneous credit or criminal history that is often expensive and time-consuming to correct. The occurrence of identity theft increased significantly beginning in the late 1990s due to the computerization of records and the ability to use another's personal information anonymously over the Internet.

identity theft

Stealing the identity of others by using their credit card, drivers license, social security or other personal identification numbers. With "true name" identity theft, the thief uses the information to open new accounts. With "account takeover" identity theft, the thief uses the information to access existing accounts.

Not only can the thieves run up bills for the victims, but they can commit crimes pretending to be the victim, who may have enormous difficulty proving otherwise. Although catalog shopping by telephone has been around for decades, it is possible that an order taker might find someone acting suspicious. However, the complete lack of human interaction on the Web has caused identity theft to increase. In 1998, the U.S. Congress made identity theft a federal offense.
References in periodicals archive ?
Other ID theft protection services in Affinion's growing security business include PC SafetyPlus, an identity theft software service that protects members with a personal firewall to thwart hackers and other online ID threats.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), federal bank regulatory agencies, and the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) mandate formal written and current ID theft prevention programs (ITPPs).
a leading provider of identity theft prevention training and security products, is pleased to announce the launch of its new comprehensive ID Theft Laws Compliance Programs for the hardware store industry.
In addition to contacting the IRS, if you are aware or suspect that you are a victim of ID theft, the FTC suggests that you take the following steps:
He noted that physicians who believe they are ID theft victims or those who want to prevent the occurrence can contact the IRS about receiving a PIN (www.
Request an alert if you think you might become a victim of ID theft but don't want to deal with freezes.
Merchants), a leading Identity Theft Restoration and Background Screening company, announced the release of Merchants Small Business ID Theft and Fraud: Safeguarding Customer Information and Managing the Risk and Cost of Small Business ID Theft, Fraud and Data Breach Events.
You can protect against ID theft by making sure the site has a verified security certificate as well.
To help protect yourself from ID theft keep your personal information secure.
In the past six months, the unit has prosecuted 270 people for ID theft, computer crimes and related fraud.
People living in the North East are helping to fuel the pounds 1bn boom in ID theft by letting friends and relatives borrow credit cards, forge signatures and use driving licences, according to a new survey.
It found that 9% of those quizzed believed they had been a victim of ID theft - the equivalent of six million people.