Identity Theft

A Closer Look at The Many Types of Identity Theft

Almost everyone has heard of identity theft, but not everyone realizes that there are several types of identity theft. Most of these types of identity theft can be classified as lease or loan fraud, government documents or benefits fraud, or credit card fraud. However, there are other types, such as employment fraud, tax-related fraud, or child identity fraud. We will explain each of these in this article.

Loan or Lease Fraud

In this type of identity theft, the thief uses the information they have obtained, such as name, Social Security number, or address, to take out a loan. The most popular type of loan for these thieves to obtain is a personal loan. However, some thieves do obtain car or real estate loans. Leases for cars, homes, or apartments are part of this category as well.

Government Documents or Benefits Fraud

With this type of identity theft, the thief usually steals a person’s Social Security number or another type of identification and then applies for government benefits. This type of fraud can also involve forging passports, driver’s licenses, and other types of government documents.

Credit Card

Credit card fraud is extremely common, probably because so many people have credit cards. Credit card thieves generally either steal the actual credit card or trick people into giving out their credit card information online. Although, some thieves do buy information off of the dark web that was obtained from data breaches and then use it to open credit cards in these people’s names.

Employment or Tax-Related Fraud

Employment theft occurs when a thief steals someone’s identity and then applies for unemployment insurance in their name. Whereas tax fraud occurs if a thief uses a stolen identity to obtain another person’s refund or other tax benefits. Generally, this type of fraud occurs during the tax filing season, and it will typically be detected when the taxpayer’s own filing is declined because someone already made a filing using their Social Security number. The IRS offers resources for those who have suffered from this type of fraud, but the best way to prevent it outside of general caution about revealing your Social Security number is to file early before others may do so.

Child Identity Fraud

Child identity fraud involves a thief stealing a child’s identifying information. This can be very useful for thieves since children generally have a Social Security number and yet have no credit history associated with it. Once a thief steals a child’s identity, they can apply for a loan or use it to obtain government benefits, among other uses.

Final Thoughts

There are many types of identity theft, and it is essential to learn what they are so that you can try to protect yourself. There are often simple things you can do to protect yourself, such as using secure passwords, checking your bank and credit card statements carefully, and checking your credit report regularly. However, if you do believe your identity has been stolen, it is important to contact the police and your financial institutions quickly. You might also want to consider freezing your credit and running a background check on yourself to make sure your identity has not been used for criminal purposes.

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