Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains your personal information and misuses it to cause fraud or deception. There are many financial and non-financial reasons why crooks commit identity theft. Identity theft goes beyond the misuse of credit card or bank account numbers. Identity theft can happen to anyone regardless of age or social status.
Approximately 10 million people in the United States are estimated to become victims of identity theft each year. Identity theft has been the number one consumer complaint over the last 13 years. Many victims may not realize they are victims of identity theft for several months or even several years after they were victimized.
Some of the common types of identity theft include: bank fraud, credit card fraud, employment fraud, Social Security and government benefits fraud, insurance fraud, housing and mortgage fraud, medical, character, government identification, and child.
The list that follows provides 10 immediate steps you can take now that will either decrease your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or help you recognize you are a victim so you can take immediate steps to minimize further damage to your good name.