Identity theft is a major problem that gets worse every year. And it can affect anyone—from children to senior citizens. The first step in preventing identity theft is understanding some of the main types of identity theft. In this article, we examine three types of identity theft you need to know about.
Financial Identity Theft
Financial identity theft occurs when criminals illegally access people’s credit cards, banks, and related financial accounts. After accessing a person’s financial accounts, they can commit several types of fraud, including:
New account fraud: This type of fraud occurs when a thief opens up a new banking or credit account in another person’s name. When committing this type of fraud, criminals use others’ good credit histories to accumulate fraudulent charges.
Mortgage fraud: A thief who has enough of another person’s personal information can steal the victim’s home equity by opening a fraudulent line of credit or running a reverse mortgage scam.
Loan fraud: Criminals can also use a person’s financial information to take out fraudulent credit lines or loans.
Credit card fraud: Finally, even if a criminal doesn’t physically possess a victim’s credit card, he or she can use another person’s credit card number to make fraudulent purchases online.
Child Identity Theft
Another common type of identity theft involves the identities of children. Child identity theft occurs when a criminal fraudulently uses a minor’ identity. This type of theft is becoming increasingly common in the U.S. In fact, a recent study showed that over 900,000 children in the U.S. were identity theft victims in 2022. Due to their clean Social Security numbers and credit histories, children are attractive targets for identity thieves. A child may be an identity theft victim if:
- The child has a credit report
- The child begins to receive credit card offers in the mail
- The child receives a letter from the IRS for unpaid taxes
- The child is denied government benefits
Social Security Number Identity Theft
Finally, identity thieves covet Social Security numbers. With this one piece of information, an identity thief can commit several other types of identity theft. And although most people understand the importance of protecting their Social Security numbers, this type of theft is, unfortunately, often the result of data breaches. Some common warning signs of Social Security number identity theft include:
- Benefits taken out in one’s name
- Suspicious activity on one’s Social Security statement
- Unfamiliar credit inquiries or loans on one’s credit report
Contact a Consumer Class Action Lawyer
If you have had your identity stolen, you should reach out to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. When you come to attorney Seth Lehrman for assistance with your identity theft issue, we will take the steps necessary to get your life back on track. In addition, if your identity was stolen due to a corporate data breach, we will take the necessary steps to hold the responsible entity accountable. Please contact lawyer Seth Lehrman to schedule a meeting with our talented lawyer.