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Identity Theft

Identity Theft

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.

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.