Identity theft is a problem more than 8 million Americans face each year. If left unchecked, identity theft can be devastating, but if caught early it is possible to make a full recovery. When the proper steps are taken, it is even possible to prevent identity theft from occurring. Learn more and find out how to best protect yourself, what to do if you fall victim to identity theft and how Bob Johnson Insurance can help.
What is Identity Theft
Identity theft is when some steals identifying information about you and uses this information to access your accounts or to open new accounts in your name. This type of theft can range from accessing and stealing money from your bank accounts, to opening credit cards or taking out loans in your name.
Your name and address are some of the easiest information a thief can use to steal your identity. Other types of information identity thieves can use to commit crimes include credit card and bank account numbers, your social security number and even medical insurance account numbers.
Types of Identity Theft
The most common occurrences of identity theft involve financial fraud. A thief may use your information to access your bank accounts and steal money. Thieves may also open accounts in your name, like credit cards or take out loans. The crook will use a different address for any accounts they set up, so you will not even realize these accounts exist. After the thief has charged or withdrawn money, they simply ignore the account, and sooner or later the lender will track you down, thinking you are the one who opened the account, and demand payment.
Impact of Identity Theft
Unraveling the mess caused by identity theft can take months and possibly even years to resolve. If a thief clears out your savings, you may be unable to pay your bills, which may cause you to end up in collections. In addition, taking out lines of credit in your name and not making payments on those bills and statements can damage your credit score.