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Identity theft is an epidemic; 19 people fall victim every minute. Here are the top ten myths about identity theft and, more importantly, the truth.
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The Social Security numbers of children are valued because they do not have any information associated with them. Thieves can establish lines of credit, obtain driver's licenses, or even buy a house using a child's identity. This fraud can go undetected for years, as most children do not discover the problem until years later.

Child identity theft is fairly common, and studies have shown that the problem is growing. The largest study on child identity theft, as reported by Richard Power of the Carnegie Mellon Cylab with data supplied by AllClear ID , found that of 40, children, The most common type is financial identity theft, where someone wants to gain economical benefits in someone else's name.

This includes getting credits, loans, goods and services, claiming to be someone else.

The Shocking Truth About Identity Theft | HuffPost

Identity thieves typically obtain and exploit personally identifiable information about individuals, or various credentials they use to authenticate themselves, in order to impersonate them. The majority of identity theft victims do not realize that they are a victim until it has negatively impacted their lives. Many people do not find out that their identities have been stolen until they are contacted by financial institutions or discover suspicious activities on their bank accounts.

The following are ten indicators that someone else might be using your identity. The acquisition of personal identifiers is made possible through serious breaches of privacy. For consumers, this is usually a result of them naively providing their personal information or login credentials to the identity thieves as a result of being duped but identity-related documents such as credit cards, bank statements, utility bills, checkbooks etc.

Guardianship of personal identifiers by consumers is the most common intervention strategy recommended by the US Federal Trade Commission , Canadian Phone Busters and most sites that address identity theft. Such organizations offer recommendations on how individuals can prevent their information falling into the wrong hands.

Identity theft can be partially mitigated by not identifying oneself unnecessarily a form of information security control known as risk avoidance. This implies that organizations, IT systems and procedures should not demand excessive amounts of personal information or credentials for identification and authentication. Requiring, storing and processing personal identifiers such as Social Security number , national identification number , driver's license number, credit card number, etc. Committing personal identifiers to memory is a sound practice that can reduce the risks of a would-be identity thief from obtaining these records.

To help in remembering numbers such as social security numbers and credit card numbers, it is helpful to consider using mnemonic techniques or memory aids such as the mnemonic Major System. Identity thieves sometimes impersonate dead people, using personal information obtained from death notices, gravestones and other sources to exploit delays between the death and the closure of the person's accounts, the inattentiveness of grieving families and weaknesses in the processes for credit-checking.

Such crimes may continue for some time until the deceased's families or the authorities notice and react to anomalies. These services purport to help protect the individual from identity theft or help detect that identity theft has occurred in exchange for a monthly or annual membership fee or premium. The FTC agreed to the industry's self-regulating principles restricting access to information on credit reports. Credit reporting agencies gather and disclose personal and credit information to a wide business client base.

Poor stewardship of personal data by organizations, resulting in unauthorized access to sensitive data, can expose individuals to the risk of identity theft.

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has documented over individual data breaches by US companies and government agencies since January , which together have involved over million total records containing sensitive personal information, many containing social security numbers. The failure of corporate or government organizations to protect consumer privacy , client confidentiality and political privacy has been criticized for facilitating the acquisition of personal identifiers by criminals.

Using various types of biometric information, such as fingerprints , for identification and authentication has been cited as a way to thwart identity thieves, however there are technological limitations and privacy concerns associated with these methods as well. In March , after it was learned two passengers with stolen passports were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight which went missing on March 8, , it came to light that Interpol maintains a database of 40 million lost and stolen travel documents from countries which it makes available to governments and the public, including airlines and hotels.

Noble told a forum in Abu Dhabi the previous month this was the case. The result is a major gap in our global security apparatus that is left vulnerable to exploitation by criminals and terrorists," Noble is quoted as saying. In Australia, each state has enacted laws that deal with different aspects of identity or fraud issues.

Other states and territories are in states of development in respect of regulatory frameworks relating to identity theft such as Western Australia in respect of Criminal Code Amendment Identity Crime Bill The total cost reported by the Attorney General Department was: There are also high indirect costs associated as a direct result of an incident. Imprisonment for 5 years.

Myth 2: Identity theft is just a financial crime.

Likewise, each state has enacted their own privacy laws to prevent misuse of personal information and data. Everyone commits an offence who knowingly obtains or possesses another person's identity information in circumstances giving rise to a reasonable inference that the information is intended to be used to commit an indictable offence that includes fraud, deceit or falsehood as an element of the offence. Under section of the Criminal Code ,. In Canada, Privacy Act federal legislation covers only federal government, agencies and crown corporations.

Each province and territory has its own privacy law and privacy commissioners to limit the storage and use of personal data. Under the Personal Data Privacy Ordinance , it established the post of Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and mandate how much personal information one can collect, retain and destruction.

Identity theft

This legislation also provides citizens the right to request information held by businesses and government to the extent provided by this law. Social networking sites are one of the most famous spreader of posers in the online community, giving the users freedom to place any information they want without any verification that the account is being used by the real person. Philippines, which ranks eighth in the numbers of users of Facebook and other social networking sites such as Twitter , Multiply and Tumblr , has been known as source of various identity theft problems.

There are people who meet online, get to know each other through the free Facebook chat and exchange of messages that then leads to sharing of private information. Others get romantically involved with their online friends that they tend to give too much information such as their social security number, bank account and even personal basic information such as home address and company address. This phenomenon lead to the creation of Senate Bill Cybercrime Prevention Act of Sweden has had relatively few problems with identity theft.

This is because only Swedish identity documents have been accepted for identity verification.


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Stolen documents are traceable by banks and some other institutions. The banks have the duty to check the identity of people withdrawing money or getting loans. If a bank gives money to someone using an identity document reported as stolen, the bank must take the loss.

This makes it harder to detect stolen documents, but still banks in Sweden must ensure that stolen documents are not accepted. Other types of identity theft have become more common in Sweden. One common example is ordering a credit card to someone who has an unlocked letterbox and is not home in the daytime.


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  8. The thief steals the letter with the credit card and then the letter with the code which typically arrives a few days later. Usage of a stolen credit card is hard in Sweden, since an identity document or a PIN code it is normally demanded. If the shop does not demand that, it must take the loss from stolen credit cards. The method of observing someone using the credit card PIN code, stealing the card or skimming it, and then using the card, has become more common.

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    Legally, Sweden is an open society. The Principle of Public Access says that all information kept by public authorities must be available for anyone except in certain cases. Specifically, anyone's address, income, taxes etc. This makes fraud easier the address is restricted only for people who needs to hide.

    There was until no legal ban specifically against using someone's identity, only on the indirect damage caused. To impersonate someone else for financial gain is a kind of fraud , which is described in the Criminal Code Swedish: To impersonate someone else to discredit someone by breaking into social media accounts and provoke, is libel , but that is hard to sentence someone for.

    It is therefore important to spot identity theft as early as possible. While identity theft is still a serious crime, victims are rarely harmed physically, unless the theft has come as a result of a mugging or similar physical robbery. If you were the victim of a violent crime it is possible that you could have been left psychologically or physically affected or both as a result.

    If this is the case then a victim might have some comfort in the knowledge that they could potentially make a criminal injury claim for compensation. Methods of identity theft evolve rapidly as new mediums such as social media develop quickly, so it is almost impossible to completely prevent identity theft, however it is possible to reduce the likelihood of being a target by taking certain precautions. Take care to protect your data by being aware of your privacy settings on social media.

    Be aware of suspicious emails which may be phishing for data. Completely destroy all documents containing your personal data, rather than just discarding them with the rest of your rubbish. The original Identity Theft website has moved. A phone number can be used to solicit phishing scams.

    To keep all of your sensitive information safe, adopt the habit of only providing information on a need-to-know basis. Businesses often ask for personal information they do not need. Speaking of oversharing, social networks are a part of daily life. Check-ins and vacation photos can alert criminals to your whereabouts.

    Your mother's maiden name can be used to crack account questions. More than half of teens and young adults admit to being cyberbullied.

    The Shocking Truth About Identity Theft

    Take control of your online identity by adopting the strictest privacy settings on each social platform. While credit card theft often comes as a result of a massive, publicized data breach, other types of identity theft can be caused by trusted friends, family, and coworkers. Be extremely wary about sharing your usernames, passwords, or financial account information with people you know.

    Checking credit card statements on a monthly basis is not enough to protect your identity. Thieves usually want to open and abuse new accounts that would never appear on your current statements. Cyber criminals are also smart. Thieves know you were just offered a year of free credit reporting after the latest department store breach.


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    8. They will wait days before using and abusing your information. Your best defense is to remain vigilant over your identity by requesting a credit report from each of the three major bureaus, at least once a year. The Center recommends requesting one credit report every four months.

      Victims of ID theft: 5 steps to take

      For every major data breach reported, there are dozens of small business breaches that never make the headlines. Hackers know that most small businesses do not have the appropriate time or resources dedicated to cyber security, which is why small business are so aggressively targeted with cyber attacks. As a business owner, take the appropriate steps to secure your business from inside and outside threats.

      As a shopper, research a company and their cyber practices before sharing your payment methods and personal data. While data breaches certainly add to the growing number of victims affected by identity theft, many cases occur with no ties to the Internet. A lost wallet, checkbook, or Social Security card can trigger the long and tiresome identity theft recovery process.

      Credit cards can be skimmed at a gas pump or restaurant. Thieves are not above jumping into dumpsters to steal improperly discarded information.