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What is Identity Theft?


Identity theft occurs when a person knowingly or intentionally obtains personal identifying information of another person; and uses, or attempts to use, that information with fraudulent intent, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, any other thing of value, or medical information in the name of another person without the consent of that person.

There are many ways an identity thief may gain access to your personal identifying information, including both high and low-tech methods.

  • They get information from businesses or institutions by stealing records from their employer, bribing an employee who has access to the records, conning information out of employees, or hacking into the organization’s computers.
  • They rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or dumps in a practice known as “dumpster-diving.”
  • They obtain credit reports by abusing their employer’s authorized access to credit reports or by posing as a landlord, employer or someone else who may have a legitimate need for and a legal right to the information.
  • They steal credit and debit card account numbers as your card is processed by using a special information storage device in a practice known as “skimming."
  • They steal wallets and purses containing identification and credit and bank cards.
  • They steal mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, or tax information.
  • They complete a “change of address form” to divert mail to another location.
  • They steal personal information from your home.
  • They scam information from you by posing as a legitimate business person or government official.

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