As we wade deeper and deeper into the age of digital information, it gets easier and easier for hackers to find and steal our private information. Identity theft is becoming more common, and can completely destroy a person’s life–especially if that person doesn’t know it’s being done in the first place. Identity theft could occur when someone gains access to information you wouldn’t normally share with others. Credit card numbers can provide access to your bank accounts in the wrong hands, but a social security number can provide access to everything else.
There are many different types of identity theft, some more serious than others. Here are a few of the most common.
Social security identity theft occurs when another person gains access to your social security number. This information can be sold to undocumented workers. In addition, it can be used to acquire access to property, bank accounts, tax services, etc. This is one of the most damaging types of identity theft. If you believe your social security number has been stolen, you must contact the authorities as soon as possible.
If you ever lose your driver’s license, then report the loss to the DMV immediately. A photo ID can be sold to a criminal with a similar appearance to yours, who might then use the ID to cover his or her own crimes. In the worst case scenario, you might find yourself in hot water for the illicit activities of another.
When someone steals medical identification numbers, that person could access the medical services that are only supposed to be available to you. If a thief uses services or products that result in changes to your medical records, then doctors could inadvertently provide the wrong personalized treatments in the future.
Synthetic identity theft is essentially the creation of a fake identity through the use of real information. A person might steal your social security number, and then use that number to open accounts, sign up for a credit card, or take out a loan. The social security number might be real, but the perpetrator will use a fake name and address, which means the unscrupulous identity won’t appear on any credit report attached to your real name.
Many criminals see an easy target in senior citizens, and that’s why they’re a common victim of identity theft. Senior citizens are less likely to pay close attention to their accounts, and might not notice when their life savings are slowly being funneled away. They’re not as likely to recognize the threats they face or know how to react to them even when aware.