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What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft and identity fraud are similar in that they pertain to all types of crime where someone wrongfully obtain and use another person’s information without their consent. The information is usually used for economic gain involving fraud and deception. Fingerprints or other biometrics are unique to you and cannot be given to someone else for their own use, however your sensitive information such as your Social Security Number, date of birth, etc. can be used by others to apply for credit. In the United States and Canada, there are numerous reports of unauthorized people removing funds from innocent citizens without their knowledge. The impression is lasting from acquiring vast debts and being accused of crimes that they did not commit. Lastly, the out of pocket financial loss from trying to restore their reputation and correcting erroneous information created by criminals can be exhausting mentally, physically and financially.

Protect your privacy with logoA good example of identity theft was recounted by the convicted felon who incurred over $100,000 credit card debt, obtained a federal home loan, and bought homes, motorcycles, and handguns in the victim’s name. This convicted felon even called the victim and taunted him. The victim and his wife spent $15,000 from their own funds trying to restore their credit and reputation. The process took over four years and in the meantime the guilty party only served a brief sentence and did not have to pay restitution to the victim for the harm he had caused. This was one of many cases that induced Congress in 1998 to create an updated federal offense of identity theft. Earlier last month, both the White House and Congress responded by drafting a legislation to undertake the nation’s increasing data security challenges called the Data Security and Breach Notification Act.

Here is a short video created by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp_8cvNm_vE&feature=youtu.be

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References

Congress.gov. (2015, January 13). Legislation: S.177. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/177

U.S.Dept. of Justice. (n.d.). Identity theft and identity fraud. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html

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