The identities of millions of Americans are stolen and compromised each year. A stolen ID is used an average of 30 times before the victim even knows it has been stolen. That's a grim thought – but there are things you can do to protect yourself. The first step is to be familiar with the most common types of identity theft.
The information on your driver's license is valuable to an identity thief because it provides him with your name, address, date of birth and license number. Thieves can use this information to open checking accounts, and buy cars and other high-cost items. And since the thief knows where you live, they can rob you and possibly hurt you and/or your family.
A thief can also use your driver's license in order to obtain your Social Security number by claiming it has been lost and getting a new card issued. This will allow him to obtain Social Security benefits like HUD benefits, medical and dental care, and he can even obtain a fake passport and get out of the country before he's caught.
Another type of theft is medical identity theft. This type of theft involves a thief obtaining your personal information and using it to obtain medical services, leaving you with the bills. This is particularly dangerous because the thief's medical history becomes tied to yours, and you could potentially be injured or even die due to receiving a medication or procedure based on the thief's history and not your own.
The most common type of identity theft is financial. Criminals often steal personal information, along with banking or credit card information, in order to empty the victim's bank account, or make charges on the victim's credit card.
Make sure your monitor your credit card and bank statements carefully each month, and keep a close eye on your credit report as well. Make sure to look closely at each transaction, and check to be sure there is no fraudulent or incorrect information listed.