Identity Fraud. What Is It? How Does It Impact Over 33 Million Victims Since 1990? How Does A Person Protect Themselves From It?

2584 words - 10 pages

What is Identity Fraud?In the year 2002 alone there has been a total of 161,819 reported cases of Identity Theft according to the Federal Trade Commission. According to Consumer Reports, "Identity theft [is] the fraudulent use of your name and identifying data by someone else to obtain credit, merchandise, or services". Identity Fraud does not discriminate; it affects all races, ages and classes. The actual number of Identity Theft victims according to a recent survey by Privacy & American Business & Legal Research is seven million. The number of people affected by the fraud is most likely higher than the FTC's data due to the fact that many people did not report the fraud to any government agency, therefore not counted in FTC's report.Types of Identity FraudIdentity Fraud is a criminal event that occurs when someone takes advantage of someone else by stealing their personal information and uses it without permission for his or her own personal gain or abuse. In the United States, "the number of Identity Fraud cases has increased dramatically over the last couple of years" . Due to this rise, more and more types of Identity Fraud are also increasing. There are several different categories that are classified as Identity Fraud but the two main categories are financial fraud and criminal fraud.The most common type of Identity Fraud is financial fraud. "Financial identity fraud can occur within every opportunity to manipulate new or existing financial relationship" . Credit card, debit card and ATM are the most prevalent of the financial frauds and the most common type is credit card fraud. Many people obtain charges on their credit card in which they did not incur themselves. It is important that everyone regularly monitor his or her financials for potential abuse. If you do not monitor your account, you may never know if you are a victim. Debit card and ATM fraud are similar to one another. In this circumstance, a criminal is subtracting money from your account without your knowledge or permission. Check fraud is along the same lines as debit and ATM fraud. It is when someone has had a check stolen, counterfeited or they have personally lost the check and a criminal has used it. These fraudulent financial activities have some things in common: an anonymous person is stealing from you financially and you are not aware until it is too late. It is important to report all fraudulent activities immediately or you may be responsible for the loss amount.The most serious type of financial fraud is True Name Identity Fraud. This is when the anonymous person "assumes your identity to open, close, obtain loans, write checks, buy cars, enter leases, etc." . Since the criminal has assumed your identity, they use your social security number and other personal information that they have acquired to become the "true" imposter. "True Name Identity Fraud" imposters can open new accounts in your name and you have no knowledge of this. This type of fraud is...

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