Credit Education 101
Website CertifiedPrivacy Protected
Credit Education > Identity Theft > What is Identity Theft?

What is Identity Theft?

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

Identity theft is a crime. It’s a crime committed by robbing someone else’s identity and using it for one’s own benefit. It is defined as a form of deception where one person steals the personal data of another person in order impersonate the latter.

The term theft used in collusion with identity is actually a misnomer. The identity of a person cannot be stolen in the normal sense of the word. It can only be used or misused by someone else.

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.

Identity theft can be subdivided into a number of categories,

First, we have the business or commercial identity theft. This involves using someone else’s identity in order to obtain credit or loans. The thief will take all the goods and services by using these monetary instruments by giving a fake address. He will then elope without paying the dues. And the lenders will finally track down the original owner of the identity and ask him to pay the dues. Hence the victim defaults on payment and his credit score will go down real bad. The victim will seek legal recourse, but most times, though he does not need to pay the dues; he will end up having a bad credit history.

Secondly, there is the criminal identity theft. In this case, a perpetrator of a crime acts innocent by posing as someone else. The owner of the identity does not suffer any loss, but the criminal gets away.

Thirdly, financial identity theft is when the criminal uses the victim’s identity to directly extract goods and services from the victims existing accounts. This is the most serious crime against the victim. For, the victim cannot be insured against theft unlike creditors. The victim loses all or most of his savings and there is not much one can do unless the criminal is caught.

Identity cloning is another type of more widely practiced crime. It simply involves someone posing as someone else in daily life. It can be as simple as getting a fake drivers license or college ID card in order to gain access to bars. And there are more serious cases like a person acting like someone else all through his life or for a couple of years. You might recollect the character of “Frank William Abagnale” in the movie “Catch me if you can” in which Leonardo Di Caprio feigns that he is a pilot and actually works in an airline without knowing how to fly a plane!

Lastly there is medical identity theft, in which a person robs identities in order to facilitate the procurement of drugs or medicine. For example medical marijuana is given only on prescription. But a lot of people manage to get it with fake prescriptions.

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.