Understanding Identity Theft

Identity theft, by definition, is a type of fraud wherein an individual assumes another individual’s identity.  This is often the case when an individual is interested in obtaining another’s credit or finances, including all other benefits that may come with these interests.

Between 2008 and 2009 over eleven million American’s lives were affected by identity theft.  If this trend remains, one in every twenty Americans will be affected by identity theft by the end of 2010.  Generally, statistics have proven that young adults and seniors are most at risk for identity theft, as of the end of 2009.

Legally, there are several types of identity theft that exist:

Criminal Identity Theft:  Criminal identity theft is when an individual wants to use another person’s identity to perform a crime or to conduct any sort of criminal activity.  Crimes may include stealing a credit card, stealing bank account information or a phone number/bill or permanent address.  These stolen items, including forms of identification and credit are often used to make large purchases, to travel or obtain personal loans.

Medical Identity Theft:  When a person is looking to receive medical attention or obtain prescriptions of any sort, medical identity theft can occur.  Using counterfeit checks for payment, as well as payment with an ATM/check card often occurs with medical identity theft.

Commercial Identity Theft:  In this instance, an individual or business will use another business’s name, credit, address, reputation, etc., for credit purposes or to obtain new business.  For the business whose identity has been stolen, even if momentarily, a loss of credit, reputation and finances can be extorted from that business.

Identity Cloning:  An individual who commits identity cloning will assume another person’s identity in their daily life to find a job, steal benefits or to obtain a passport.  Sometimes an individual will even change their physical appearance to match that of the identity they are stealing.

There are several ways in which an individual or entity can steal an identity.  There are many records that exist within online and public systems.  Phone and bank records can be stolen via the mail system, and some go so far as to break into a home to take personal information.

If your identity is stolen, what should you do?  Initially one should consider filing a police report and notifying their creditors of the stolen information.  Bank cards, credit cards and other forms of identification can be monitored, if asked.

The Federal Trade Commission is now tracking losses that occur due to identity theft.  Due to the high numbers of incidents, identity fraud insurance is now available through most insurance companies.  Although this may not protect you, your finances or information completely, it is a proactive measure that is often low in annual cost.

Identity theft occurs around the globe, every day.  It is important to fully understand proactive measure to take, but also, procedures to take if identity theft occurs.  If identity theft is not caught within a timely manner, the amount of debt that may occur could be substantial.

Steven Medvin is the Executive Director of SMP Advance Funding, LLC, which provides lawsuit funding to individuals who need a lawsuit loan for pending lawsuits. For more information please visit: http://www.smpadvance.com