Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable information (PII), such as Social Security or driver’s license numbers, to impersonate someone else.
The stolen information can be used to run up debt purchasing credit, goods and services in the name of the victim or to provide the thief with false credentials. In rare cases, an imposter might provide false identification to police, creating a criminal record or leaving outstanding arrest warrants for the person whose identity has been stolen.
❇️ Types of identity theft
The two categories of identity theft are:
- True-name identity theft means the thief uses PII to open new accounts. The thief might open a new credit card account, establish cellular phone service or open a new checking account to obtain blank checks.
- Account-takeover identity theft is when the imposter uses PII to gain access to the person’s existing accounts. Typically, the thief will change the mailing address on an account and run up a bill before the victim realizes there is a problem. The internet has made it easier for identity thieves to use the information they’ve stolen since online transactions are made without any personal interaction.