Identity theft literally means taking the things that make up who someone else is, such as their I.D. Often this is done for criminal purposes. It may involve taking another person's image, words, full address, driver's license, PIN, credit card, passport number or other personally important details.
An increasing number of criminals are using spyware or viruses to help them collect the personal information of others.
People who commit identity theft may steal an identity to masquerade as another person and:
- open new bank accounts
- pretend to be someone else online
- apply for loans, credit cards or goods and services
- hide their past
- buy things
If you are the victim of identity theft, let your local police know. Also your financial institutions and national credit bureau.
How to prevent identity theft?
- By checking hard-copy and internet statements, it is possible to see if someone has been using your financial identity.
- Remove all I.D. from your wallet that is not necessary.
- Be cautious of unfamiliar e-mails, mail or phone calls that try to obtain personal information.
- Shred documents before throwing them away.
- Keep your eye on your financial cards when cashiers are doing transactions.