The 10 Most Common Types of Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when one person gets hold of another’s personal information — such as a Social Security number, bank and credit account numbers and records of other assets — and uses the data for purposes of financial gain. For victims of identity theft, the consequences can include large financial losses, inability to seek employment or other opportunities and damage to their credit ratings.
Identity theft can take many forms. Here are 10 of the most common types:
- Financial fraud — Thieves illegally access the victim’s existing bank accounts, draining away funds and using stolen information to establish fraudulent credit accounts.
- Tax account fraud — Criminals file fraudulent federal and/or state income tax returns in the victim’s name, reflecting that a substantial refund is due. They also change the address to which the refund check is to be sent or provide a new bank account to which a refund is to be wired.
- Medical identity theft — Perpetrators assume the identity of the victim to obtain healthcare services and valuable prescription drugs. They can also sell the drugs illegally on the street for a huge profit.
- Child identity theft — A criminal establishes credit accounts in a child’s name, representing the child as a legal adult, and runs up debts for goods and services in the child’s name.
- Elder fraud — Criminals obtain senior citizens’ personal and private information and use it to either drain bank accounts of funds or to run up debts in the victim’s name.
- Criminal enterprise — A perpetrator uses an assumed identity to commit a crime so that the authorities prosecute the identity theft victim.
- Employment fraud — Many people are unemployable for such reasons as lacking legal immigration status or having a criminal record. The perpetrator uses a stolen identity to obtain a job and to receive employment benefits.
- Government benefits fraud — The criminal uses stolen personal information to qualify for such benefits as disability payments, welfare or food subsidies.
- Property title fraud — The perpetrator applies for an equity loan in the victim’s name and absconds with the loan proceeds, while the real property owner is stuck with a fraudulent debt to pay.
- Synthetic identity theft — The perpetrator uses both stolen and fake information to essentially create a “person” out of thin air. The fake person then runs up debts in the assumed name, for which the identity theft victim may be liable.
A qualified identity theft lawyer helps victims to recover their stolen identities and to obtain relief from obligations, charges and other losses resulting from the thefts.
The Giatras Law Firm, PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia is known for successfully representing people who have suffered identity theft. If you or a family member has been a victim, please contact us online or call 888-819-1281 for an initial consultation.