When people think of identity theft, more often than not they assume that it only happens to wealthy people. Who would bother stealing the identity of a college student who can barely make ends meet? The harsh reality of the matter is that anyone can be a victim.
College students are particularly vulnerable, because they are most likely to be careless or unaware where their credit reports are concerned. The fact that they don’t expect to be targeted by identity thieves is an important factor. The more you know, the more you are able to prevent identity theft from happening to you. According to the US Federal Trade Commission, majority of the reports they receive on identity theft were filed by victims aged 20 to 29.
Take note of these eight types of identity theft and protect yourself.
1.) Financial Identity Theft
When people hear the words “identity theft”, often times they immediately think of this type. Financial identity theft can mean two things. First, the victim’s bank accounts and credit cards are accessed and used illegally. The thief can withdraw money or max out credit cards. Second, the victim’s identity is used to take on loans and get new credit cards. The effect of this type of theft on a college student’s credit report, for example, can be devastating and difficult to remedy. There are steps you can take, however, to recover from identity theft.
2.) Driver’s License Identity Theft
This type requires very little sophistication. Once a person’s driver’s license is stolen, the criminals can find ways to use the ID. It may even be sold off to someone who looks passably similar to the real ID owner. If the criminal is caught for a traffic violation, drunk driving charge or drug-related charged, they will give the stolen ID name. Now they don’t have to show up in court and the police will be looking for the name of the person on the driver’s license. The victim’s driving record now includes these driving related offenses which can lead to having a revoked or suspended driver’s license. These offenses can effect current car insurance rates, or any attempt to obtain new car insurance.
While you should always have your driver’s license on you, there are other things that you can remove from your wallet to that might otherwise put you at risk for ID theft.
3.) Criminal Identity Theft
Obviously, the instance with the driver’s license is just the tip of the iceberg, and traffic violations are just the beginning. If the “new” owner of the ID commits a crime and is cited or arrested, he or she can make use of the stolen ID to give policemen a fake identity, resulting in a criminal record being created in that person’s name. When that happens, the victim of criminal identity theft can have problems with law enforcement or be unable to gain employment. It is a serious, but rare, problem.
4.) Social Security Identity Theft
The Social Security Number (SSN) is very important, and people should learn not to be cavalier about this information. Identity thieves can make use of the SSN to defraud the government and steal off benefits meant for the victim. Another thing to take note of: your SSN contains valuable personal information. A thief can make use of this information to falsify documents (such as getting a passport, for example) or to take out loans and credit cards.
5.) Medical Identity Theft
Why would anyone want to steal someone else’s medical identity? The simple answer is that this can be used to commit fraud involving health insurance and medical coverage. Thieves can use the victim’s identity to make false claims. The hidden danger of medical identity theft, as the World Health Organization (WHO) points out, is that this could lead to incorrect entries in the victim’s medical history. Erroneous entries could lead to incorrect diagnosis and other complications.
6.) Insurance Identity Theft
This is related to the medical identity theft. Once the crime is committed, the victim is left holding the bag. Effects of identity insurance include difficulties in settling payments, potentially higher insurance premiums, and quite possibly trouble in acquiring medical coverage later on. Ironically, there are identity theft insurance policies to protect against this, and many other kinds of ID theft.
7.) Child Identity Theft
Just as with college students, children are not likely to be concerned about their credit reports at all. What most parents don’t realize is that their child’s information and SSN can be used by thieves to defraud the government, create documents, commit crimes, and apply for loans.
8.) Synthetic Identity Theft
In this type of identity theft, the thieves use information from several different victims to create a new identity. Although the primary victim here is the lender, it can still negatively affect the person whose name or Social Security ID is used. For example, the thieves will use one person’s Social Security number and combine it with a different name, address and phone number. They can then open new accounts, acquires credit cards, cell phones and other goods and services not in your name but because of your social security number. Have you ever been a victim of identity theft? Do you know of any other types that aren’t listed here? Share with us below!