There are at least 25 types of identity theft, according to sources such as the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and the U.S. Secret Service
Identity theft involves any instance where one person uses another's personal or financial information in order to impersonate that person for any reason. Identity theft represents America's fastest growing crime.
Many different studies have confirmed that there are at least 10 Million victims of identity theft in the U.S. alone each year. Victims can spend up to two years and hundreds or even thousands of dollars clearing their name. Victims of identity theft can experience difficulties in managing their financial affairs.
With more than two dozen different types of identity theft, the crime is difficult to combat since your personal information is almost everywhere and is easily accessible to identity thieves.
The non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) sub-divides identity theft into five broad categories:
Business Identity Theft
- Business/commercial identity theft (using another's business name to obtain credit)
- Criminal identity theft (posing as another person when apprehended for a crime)
- Financial identity theft (using another's identity to obtain credit, goods and services)
- Identity cloning (using another's information to assume his or her identity in daily life)
- Medical identity theft (using another's identity to obtain medical care or drugs)
is similar to identity theft committed against an individual. Business identity theft targets the commercial identity of a small business or corporation. Criminals use stolen business identities to secure lines of credit, purchase goods and services under the name of the victimized business or as tools to help during the theft of large numbers of individual identities.Criminal Identity Theft
occurs when someone commits a crime in your name. If a person masquerades as you and commits crimes, this can result in a criminal record being recorded in your name, you may receive a notice to appear in court for violations you are not responsible for and warrants for your arrest can even be posted nationwide. You might not even know of the theft until you apply for a job, apply for credit, or when the police show up at your home.Financial Identity Theft
is a common type of identity theft. It is important to monitor your financial relationships with creditors, banks and lenders. Credit reports provided by the three main credit bureaus are perhaps the best way to monitor existing and any newly created fraudulent relationships. You can check for fraudulent activities in you name by periodically reviewing your credit record, or by subscribing to an identity theft protection service such as Lifelock.Identity Cloning
occurs when you are impersonated by someone else in order to conceal their own true identity for whatever purpose. Illegal immigrants, people hiding from creditors or other individuals, or those who simply want to become "anonymous" for personal reasons have successfully used cloning to pretend they are someone else, sometimes for years. Unlike the traditional idea of identity theft, the may con deception may continue almost indefinitely without being detected.
Particularly disturbing is Medical Identity Theft
, occurring when someone uses a person's name and personal, financial and insurance information to obtain medical services. Medical identity theft frequently results in false entries being entered into existing medical records, which can then lead to inappropriate and potentially life-threatening decisions by medical staff – based on the false information. An example would be inaccurate information about allergic reactions to medications or incorrect blood type information.