When most people hear the term "identity theft." the first thought is usually credit card or ATM information theft. Though this is increasingly common with the popularity of internet purchases, this is only a part of the whole of criminal identity theft and what it can mean. Identity theft can take a number of different forms and have far-reaching implications and repercussions that can affect one's life and reputation for many years.
Credit identity theft can destroy your credit as well as leave you thousands of dollars in debt when a thief obtains information such as your social security number, bank information, name and address, or credit card numbers. Thieves apply for credit in your name, using your information. It can be happening quietly in the background without your knowledge for many months, even years, without the regular monitoring of credit reports. Most only find out about it when they have been refused credit even though they know their credit should be excellent. Getting credit restored is a long and time-consuming process during which one's ability to purchase a home or car, or even rent an apartment or get a job, can be negatively impacted. Monitoring your credit is one way to keep track of what's going on with your credit reports & ratings
A person detained or arrested for criminal activities who uses your name and personal information as identification is known as criminal identity theft, or character theft. This can result in an arrest on your record without your knowledge when you are completely innocent of any wrongdoing. Imagine police showing up at your door to take you to jail for not showing up for your court date, or worse.
Losing your driver's license can result in another form of identity theft. If your name and information appears on a traffic violation report, it could result in having your license suspended or revoked. It could also be used during the commission of a crime, with your license left at the scene.
Social security numbers are used by identity thieves to apply for employment or loans, open credit card accounts, make purchases in your name, and more. Wages can be reported as income on your taxes that you never earned or saw, creating a costly income tax situation.
These are just a few of the types of identity theft and ways your life can be seriously affected by it. Getting untangled from the web is never easy. Due to the extensive amount of time, effort, and knowledge it takes to get good credit and reputation restored, it is often wise to secure the assistance of professionals who know their way around the system and are able to deal with it successfully.