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How does Identity Theft Work?

By Janet Lacey
Published: Sunday, September 20th, 2009

Imagine being robbed of something without actually losing anything physically. And yet that something which is lost can be as valuable as a job, all your savings, or even your marriage! That is identity theft. It is not a crime which is easily palpable. But all the same, the after effects are drastic.

The actual working behind identity theft is actually meticulous work. In fact the only way identity thieves are caught these days are because some of them have turned and started working for the law enforcement agencies. Else, it would have been literally impossible to actually find out the means these people used to do what they were doing.

There are a number of subdivisions in identity theft. For one, a theft becomes a fraud only when the fraud is actually committed. That is, a person can steal the identity and not even commit the fraud. This is identity theft. When he /she actually commit the fraud, it becomes identity fraud.

Then there is identity theft in business, criminal theft, financial theft, identity cloning, and medical identity theft. All of these are crimes and are equally dangerous.

Let’s look at some examples of how identity thieves might go about doing their dirty work.

Imagine, you give out your credit card at the restaurant to pay your bill. The waiter takes the card and returns it after say 3 to 5 minutes. In this interim period, a lot of people could have had access to your card. They could have copied your credit card number. Or your security code at the back. This is all one needs to rob you dry.

And then there is the doctor’s clinic. You go for a checkup and they take a photocopy of your driver’s license and your insurance card. Most of your details are on these two documents. This is all they need to probe into your other accounts. Your mother’s maiden name which is your password can be easily procured by anyone who calls up your service provider and says something like he is buying a property from you. And your credit report also has this information.

Then, you have those emails which are called phishing emails. All they do is search for all sorts of information. There was this racket of an email which said a guy from Nigeria would give out 50% of his inheritances to anyone who puts it into their account. This was a way to get your bank account number and other vital information which could have been used to make millions out of robbing just a hundred gullible people.

The consequences of identity theft can be very grim indeed. A person can go to the extent of losing his/her mind. The loss of everything one has strived for will create a permanent scar on one’s life. Take some time to research what identity theft really is. Try to register yourself to an organization which prevents such incidents from occurring. It’s better to be safe than to be sorry.

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