Monday, November 8, 2010

The Different Methods of Identity Theft

There are really only two basic types of actual identity theft, although there are many different methods that one can utilize to rip someone off in an identity theft type scam.

The first of these identity theft type is generally the easiest and most basic way for thieves to achieve their objective, account takeover  An example of account takeover is when a thief gets hold of your actual physical credit card, or perhaps just the card number and expiry date, using it to purchase services or products.  This works out extremely well for the thief, as the credit card owner doesn't usually notice the additional purchases until they either receive their monthly statement in the mail or have attempted to use the card and found that it has reached the maximum limit allowed.

The second type of identity theft is called application fraud, or what is otherwise known as “true name fraud”.  In order for a thief to be successful at application fraud, they must have access to a good deal of your personal information such as your Social Security Number (SSN), full name, address, place of work, salary, driver's license number, date of birth etc.  Of course not all of these pieces of information would be necessary for a thief to get away with application fraud but certainly a combination of some of the above would be required.

It Can Affect Anyone

Like many, you may assume that identity theft only happens to those people who might be a bit more careless when it comes to safeguarding personal information.  Or perhaps you are of the mindset that because you don't really have a lot of money in your personal account or don't have credit cards with large spending limits, that identity theft thieves wouldn't necessarily target someone like yourself.  Well, make no mistake about it; identity theft can happen to anyone, including you!  Basically, if you have an identity then you are susceptible.

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