What is Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains your personal information, such as a credit card number or a Social Security number, and then either uses this information to gain access to your financial accounts and assets or uses the information to obtain credit in your name and runs up enormous bills that come back as black marks on your credit report.

Identity theft is a growth industry in the criminal world where it represents the perfect storm of crime.  It is both easy to accomplish and hard to catch.  It can be done in a manner that is either high tech, low tech or no tech.  It is done through sophisticated computer tactics that trick you into providing your personal information or it can be done by going through your garbage for information, such as credit card bills that you may have thrown out in your trash.

TIP

Use a shredder to destroy documents that you are throwing out and make sure that you use a cross shredder because identity thieves are able to use readily available computer software and scanners to read shredded material cut by a vertical shredder.