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.
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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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Taxpayers should remember that identity thieves constantly strive to find a scheme that works.
But they're not being targeted just because they have a lot of money.They also tend to have several bank accounts and they're ( 26% more likely  than low-income earners to have three or more credit cards, which simply gives identity thieves more opportunities to come after them.
Public networks aren't secure and identity thieves can easily gain access to your computer, email accounts, and bank accounts.
But permanency should serve the school system, its students and society - not identity thieves.
Opportunist identity thieves will often find your personal details discarded in the rubbish or will try to see or overhear your personal details in a public place.
Awareness: Become aware of how identity thieves gain your information and how they use it.
While risk appetites maybe got a bit more conservative in some instances, they weren't gone altogether, creating something of a perfect storm for business identity thieves.
Identity thieves have scoured newspaper obituaries for years to get mortgage and apartment lease information or the credit data of a recently deceased person.
IDENTITY thieves are preying on dead people's junk mail, a study found.
From e-mail scams and fake websites, to storage devices that can steal your card number when you pay at the store, identity thieves can access your information almost anytime and anywhere.
Like your local Costco, identity thieves have also been using bulk pricing discounts to encourage buyers.
Watching what you do and say in public also helps to keep identity thieves at bay.