Identity Theft, Identity Theft Protection, ID Theft
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The Severe Impacts of Identity Theft

By Amanda Randell
Published: Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Identity theft is a growing crime and a serious one at that. From a simple loss of a wallet to the clicking of a fraudulent link sent to you by email, you could be a victim without you knowing it. Identity theft prevention can be simple if people are aware of this crime. 

Theft is the act of stealing someone else’s property. Identity theft on the other hand, is the fraudulent acquisition of personal information for the benefit of the thief. It is more serious than simple stealing since the thief assumes the victim’s identity, manipulating his credit and other details without the victim’s knowledge causing a grimmer effect.   

Important information needed by thieves to carry out their scam can be as simple as names, birth dates, street address, zip code, city, state, and phone numbers. Other information that you need to safeguard for identity theft prevention may include Social security numbers, PINs and passwords. When a thief gets hold of such information, he can use your name in order to do any of the following: 

  • Change your address. When they do so, they can also change the billing address of your credit card so that you won’t be able to receive your bills and then your debts will start to pile up.
  • Open credit card accounts without you knowing it.
  • Open a new phone or wireless account.
  • Apply for services like cable and electricity.
  • They could rent a new apartment.
  • Apply for new loans or mortgages.
  • Open bank accounts and write checks.
  • Use your Social Security number to avail of government benefits.
  • Give out your personal information to the police when they get arrested. 

Victims who are an easy target are those who do not know about identity theft and identity theft prevention. Unfortunately, they will have to carry the horrific outcome for long periods of time. These are some of the effects of identity theft to its victims: 

  1. Financial burden. A victim’s credit account gets manipulated which may result to unpaid bills and an accumulation of debt.
  2. Emotional impact. Having your identity stolen could be the most traumatic situation to be put in. Imagine your life being maliciously manipulated without your knowledge and having to suffer the consequences of other people’s actions. It is probably most depressing.
  3. Damaging effect to reputation. The victim’s credit history after the crime must be in ruins due to unpaid bills that the victim did not even have the chance to see for himself. All the fraudulent acts that the thief has done will eventually weigh the victim down. The victim’s application for employment, new loans and mortgages may be affected or delayed when the victim is put to a background check.
  4. Mental stress due to endless explanation to people such as employers and creditors, as to why the victim has a rather flawed credit history. Also, clearing your name after an identity theft can take months, even years to happen and a tarnished background may prevent you from doing things that you want or need to do.

The effects of identity theft are tremendous. The only way to protect yourself is to know identity theft prevention measures and to practice them well. Be aware and be vigilant because no one is safe from this crime.

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