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What is identity theft?

By Janet Lacey
Published: Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

All of us have something unique to connect to us. In addition to our physical appearance, we have a host of other documents and numbers that are all connected to us in one way or another. Hence, it is important to keep these details safe and secure so that they don’t end up in the wrong hands. We fail to realize the consequence of doing so and end up paying a steep price for it later on. Whenever someone else uses any of this information for their own gain, it is known as identity theft.

One of the best known ways in which someone may lose their identity is when they misplace their social security card. When this happens, the first thing that you need to do is to report the loss immediately so that the Social Security office can put a hold on that number. With this number, the perpetrator can go around opening new bank accounts and even taking out loans in your name. As one can conclude, this is not a good thing and will reflect rather poorly on the credit score. What’s worse, it might even be difficult to track the people down once they use your Social Security number for their own goodwill.

Another way in which a person might become a victim of identity theft is due to a misplaced passport. Although this is rare and rather difficult to get away with, there are many people who still somehow manage to lose this important document and then wonder what to do next. Passports from developed countries can actually be sold in foreign locations for whopping amounts of money. Hence, one ought to be careful with it and not place it lightly or be careless with it. If you passport is traced within the country, you are in luck, but for the unlucky few where it can’t be traced, it is quite a troublesome experience.

Identity theft can even happen without you having lost anything at all. There are people who have become victims and are not even aware of it until much later. Criminals have been able to steal information from computers and use it without the knowledge of the victim to create havoc in their life. In fact, many victims of identity theft are such that they come to know of it much later on when a lot of damage has happened to their finances.

Now that you are aware of the number of different ways in which a person can become a victim of identity theft, you ought to be more careful and ensure that you are taking adequate measures to protect yourself from becoming another victim. It is not particularly hard to protect yourself from identity crisis, and you can do so easily without worrying too much about the consequences. It might cost you a little money and even some of your time, but it is well worth the effort since you are going to be spending much more time trying to pursue the perpetrator who stole your identity rather than the amount you might need in protecting your identity.

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