Identity Theft & Credit Theft Tactics

by : Jay Delgado

Identity theft has become a rapidly growing problem the world over. Identity theft can tarnish your image as well as a solid credit record, one that you may have spent years building in just a couple of minutes.

Identity theft usually happens when a thief is able to get someones name, address, social security number or any other identification information. This stolen information is then used to open new credit card accounts or to take over already existing account. It can also be used to obtain a loan in the name of the victim or steal funds from his/her checking, saving and other investment accounts.

Identity theft or identity fraud can be defined as an offense that involves illegal use or transfer of personal identification information for illegitimate purposes. You'll be amazed to know that a lost wallet is one of the many ways to steal information and this crime can certainly wreak havoc on your personal finances and credit scores.

Some of the common methods adopted by thieves to steal identity are:

- Accessing someones credit report deceptively by possibly posing as an employer or perhaps a loan officer.

- 'Shoulder surfing' at ATMs (automated teller machines) and phone booths are yet another method to acquire personal identification information.

- Compilation of information from records which are accessible via Internet is also a commonly practiced strategy.

- Stealing mail from a mailbox is another method as the mail may contain information on credit cards, pre-approved credit offers and bank accounts.

- These identity thieves even go through trash bins in search of credit card and loan applications.

People who become victims of 'identity theft' or 'identity fraud' can face some tough times because of it. They can go through a very difficult as well as time-consuming ordeal to make creditors and credit reporting agencies understand about what has happened. Then they have to fight a tough battle to have the erroneous information removed from the credit report and the sad thing is the majority of identity theft victims are not even aware of how their information was illegally obtained! Another sat fact is : Creditors who write off these losses will just pass on their losses to other consumers by charging higher interest and fees.

It should be clear by now that an identity theft can devastate your credit score as well as your reputation. Perpetrators can easily open new lines of credit or rent an apartment, all in the name of victim by using his/her credit. It is obvious that once an identity thief is able to access your account, it will be used to its maximum and the aftershocks are left for the victim to deal with. As It can take months or even years to regain the lost credit score it is important to be cautious and keep track of your credit to ensure that nobody is illegally using your credit.