The terms “identity theft” and “identity fraud” are often used interchangeable and refer to crimes in which an individual obtains and uses the personal information of another individual without authorization to gain some type of benefit. This benefit is usually financial gain.
Identity thieves target personal information includes Social Security number, credit card or bank account number, driver’s license information, date of birth. Any personal identifying information can be stolen and used to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges to financial accounts and even to take over completely another person’s identity and conduct business under that person’s name by getting a job, buying a home, get medical care, or apply for a passport. The stolen identity may even be used to commit other crimes. Identity theft can be devastating to victims, exposing them to serious financial and emotional difficulties.