Identity theft occurs when someone illicitly gains access to enough information (either passwords, ID numbers, or personal information) to access a victim’s personal, work, financial, or technology accounts. There are many strategies for getting this information, including Phishing.
Once identity theft has been committed, the perpetrator can use this information to commit fraud. They may make purchases, write bad checks, use your social security number, or even get a driver’s license in your name.
Some ways to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Protect your social security number
- Choose secure passwords, not your birth date or “password12345”
- Verify web sites before entering personal information
- Make sure your computer is protected from adware, spyware, and malware
- Carefully review your credit card statements and check your credit report at least once a year
The federal trade commission has compiled a lot of resources on how to avoid identity theft:
Deter: Minimize Your Risk
OnGuard Online: Identity Theft
And what to do if you believe your identity has been stolen:
Detect Identity Theft
Defend: Recover from Identity Theft