What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal identifiable information (PII) with the intent to commit fraud or gain financial benefits in their name. If your identity or the identity of your child has been stolen, identity thieves may open new credit accounts, file fake tax returns, buy or rent property, or take out loans that wreak havoc on your financial health and credit score.
What is PII?
Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any personal information about a person that is maintained by an agency. PII can include your name, place of birth, SSN, mother’s maiden name, biometric records, educational history, employment history, and more.
It’s important to understand that identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. What we call your identity is the total collection of your PII. This is the information thieves use when you experience a stolen identity. When they gain access to this information, they have the ability to, in essence, become you. If any of this information is stolen, we consider this a personal breach of your identity.
What could an identity thief do with your PII?
One of the first questions a victim of identity theft asks themselves is, “Why would someone want my identity?” For an identity thief, opening credit cards in your name, making fraudulent purchases, or using your personal information when being questioned by the police are just a part of a long list of what they are able to do with your stolen identity. They might:
- Open new credit cards in your name
- Make fraudulent purchases
- Log in to personal accounts (email, social media, bank, etc…)
- Open new phone and utility accounts in your name
- Clone your ATM or debit card
- Change your billing address
- Obtain a new driver’s license or official ID
- Use your identity when questioned by police
It’s important to understand that identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. Your identity is built on multiple layers that include more than just your social security number. What we call your identity is the total collection of your personally identifiable information (PII). When they gain access to this information, they have the ability to, in essence, become you. If any of this information is stolen, we consider this a personal breach of your identity.
How quickly does an identity thief start to use your personal information?
One study* by the FTC showed that criminals acted on stolen information within 9 minutes of getting the data. It is important to understand how identity theft can happen and act quickly when it does.
*Source: Federal Trade Commission
Is Your Personal Information Vulnerable to Identity Theft and Fraud?
What’s the one thing we ask when we see a magician make something disappear? How did they do that? When you are watching a performer, you’re left confused by the sleight of hand, but in the end, it is fun and entertaining. The fun stops when the magician is an identity thief and we notice things in our life are disappearing. It may seem like magic when someone else mysteriously accesses your personally identifiable information, but knowing how identity theft happens removes the magic and puts the control back in your hands. So, how do thieves steal an identity? Here are a few of the most common ways identity theft happens:
The more informed people like you are getting, the more creative thieves become. Understanding these common methods of identity theft and using identity theft protection helps protect yourself and your family. The best part is, you are not in this alone and you shouldn’t have to constantly worry. IdentityIQ is here to help!
Through our complete suite of identity protection products, IdentityIQ will give you the peace of mind knowing that someone is on guard when you need protection the most.
Using various monitoring products, we watch for everything from changes to your credit score to new users that are authorized on your accounts.
We actively monitor and protect your identity so you can focus on the things in life that matter most to you. We not only actively monitor for anything suspicious, but with IdentityIQ you will get the security of knowing that our experts are here to help when it matters most.