United States Identity Theft Information And Resource Center

Identity theft is a form of stealing someone's identity in which someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person's identity, typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name. The victim of identity theft (here meaning the person whose identity has been assumed by the identity thief) can suffer adverse consequences if they are held accountable for the perpetrator's actions. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another's personally identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

The term identity theft was coined in 1964 however it is not literally possible to steal an identity—less ambiguous terms are identity fraud or impersonation.

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Types of Identity Theft

Identity theft can enter into many areas of our lives. It involves any instance where a person uses someone else's identification documents or other identifiers in order to impersonate that person for whatever reason. According to a September 2003 survey conducted by the Federal Trade Commission, an estimated 10 million people in the United States found out they were victims of identity theft in the previous year. More appropriately titled identity fraud, your identity might be stolen in order for someone to commit:

Financial fraud

This type of identity theft includes bank fraud, credit card fraud, computer and telecommunications fraud, social program fraud, tax refund fraud, mail fraud, and several more. In fact, a total of 25 types of financial identity fraud are investigated by the United States Secret Service. While financial identity theft is the most prevalent (of the approximate 10,000 financial crime arrests that Secret Service agents made in 1997, 94 percent involved identity theft), it certainly isn't the only type. Other types of identity theft, however, usually involve a financial element as well -- typically to fund some sort of criminal enterprise.

Criminal activities

This type of identity fraud involves taking on someone else's identity in order to commit a crime, enter a country, get special permits, hide one's own identity, or commit acts of terrorism. These criminal activities can include:

Computer and cyber crimes
Organized crime
Drug trafficking
Alien smuggling
Money laundering

Identity Theft: What You Must Know

“Prevention is better than cure”.

By having enough information about identity theft, you can avoid being a victim of this crime.

Based on that statement above, knowing about identity theft is the best way to protect yourself against this serious crime.

Now what is identity theft all about? Generally speaking, identity theft is a crime where a criminal uses another person’s identity and personal information for their own gain, usually financial gains.

Identity theft is a very serious crime. People who steal personal information of other people and use it for financial gains can produce very serious consequences. Identity theft can be used to transfer funds from your bank account, or use your personal information for criminal activities. Credit card frauds are also a form of identity theft and so do check frauds.

If you somehow feel you are a victim of this crime, you must report it immediately to the nearest justice department or law enforcement agency. The concerned authorities can make the appropriate action in order to prevent the situation from getting worse.

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