Identity Theft

Background check information | PeopleSmart

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission. Identity thieves may rob your bank account, open a credit card in your name, make purchases online in your name, or use your government benefits. In 2012,

  • 46% of identity theft came from government documents and benefits fraud
  • 13% came from credit card fraud
  • 6% came from bank fraud
  • 2% came from loan fraud

Who can be a victim of identity theft?

Everyone is at risk for identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission reported that in 2012, there were 1 million fraud-related complaints, with over $1.4 billion in losses. More than 27,000 people reported losses over $5,000.

Children are increasingly at risk for identity theft as well. Because their credit histories are usually unmonitored, it is easier for identity thieves to obtain credit accounts in a child’s name without being detected.

What Can You Do About It?

One way to protect yourself is through IdentitySmart, premium identity protection that includes breach, credit, and public records monitoring. Membership also includes identity theft insurance that will help reimburse:

  • The cost of re-filing loans for grants and making corrections to your records
  • Lost wages earned for time taken off work to amend a stolen record and identity
  • Legal defense fees

IdentitySmart also provides restoration services that help you:

  • Notify credit bureaus of your fraud
  • Help review your files to look for fraud
  • Alert your creditors and credit card companies
  • Unauthorized electronic fund transfer for funds transferred without your consent Need more information? Here are some helpful resources on identity theft.

Privacy Protection Tip

  • Ask your doctor if your records can be accessed by third parties. If so, ask why. Before the office sends your records to third parties like insurance companies, ask to check your record for accuracy.
  • Don't use the same password for your email, bank, Facebook, and other personal accounts. When you log in to check or manage your account, don't click "stay signed in" unless it's on a personal computer which you don't intend to sell or let others use. Make sure to create a strong password that blends symbols, numbers, and upper and lowercase letters.
  • Be careful with your Social Security Number (SSN), and only provide it if absolutely necessary. Don't carry your Social Security card, military ID, Medicare, or other cards containing Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.