Types of Identity Theft and Fraud

Identity Theft: All forms of Identity Theft involve using personal identifying information. To understand the scope of ID Theft, we talk about it in terms of the following types of ID Theft.

Financial Identity Theft: What most people think of first when thinking of ID Theft. Defined as any form of ID Theft that accesses a person's financial resources or credit.

Medical Identity Theft: The use of another person's identifying information to obtain medical services, prescriptions or any other medical, psychiatric or substance abuse treatment.

Employment/Benefits Identity Theft: The use of someone's social security number to obtain employment, to claim public or veterans benefits or to apply for unemployment benefits.

Criminal Identity Theft: This form of ID Theft occurs when someone uses another person's ID when charges with a crime, arrested or given a traffic ticket.

Child Identity Theft/At-Risk Adult Identity Theft: Any form of Identity Theft that is perpetrated using the ID of a minor child or of an older adult or person with a disability.

Domestic Violence/Stalking ID Theft: Any ID Theft that is committed as part of a domestic violence or stalking incident. This form of ID Theft is often used by the perpetrator to intimidate and control the victim.

Tax Related Identity Theft: The use of someone's social security number to file fraudulent tax returns and obtain fraudulent tax refunds.

Business Identity Theft: The theft of a business by changing listings with the Secretary of State. This form of ID Theft is committed to obtain credit, sell the business or set up fraudulent websites to divert business and online payments or to obtain personal information from customers.

Fraud: All forms of fraud have a common theme. The scam artist wants to get money or personal identifying information from their target. Scams can be attempted with phone calls, letters, emails or text messages. While there are a countless number of scams out there, most fall into several categories of fraud.

Money Wiring Scams: The scam artist tries to scare or intimidate the victim into sending money immediately through a wire service (like Western Union or Money Gram), by an electronic funds transfer or through the purchase of a pre-paid credit card. This includes calling and pretending to be a loved one in distress and needing money, contacting the victim and claiming to be with a government or law enforcement agency collecting a fine or debt, or representing one's self as an IRS agent calling about past due tax debt. Another way this scam is committed is through online sales or offers of jobs like personal assistant or mystery shoppers. What they all have in common is that the victim is asked to send money to another person. Once the victim sends the money, additional requests for finds will follow, with the callers becoming more aggressive and even threatening.

Romance Scams: Millions of Americans participate in online dating. So do a large number of scam artists. In this scam, the criminal poses as the target's ideal love match. Once the victim has fallen in love with the criminal, there will be requests for money to help with a crisis. The scam artist will claim that he or she would love to catch a plane and meet the victim and marry, but there is just this one problem. Again, once money has been sent, the need for more money will follow. This scam not only breaks the bank, it also potentially breaks the heart.

Lottery Scams: You have won $2 million! And all you have to do to claim your prize is pay taxes and some processing fees. Many people will send these criminals thousands of dollars in the hopes of getting millions. But in the end, it is just a scam. Sometimes, the criminals in this scam will ask for the victim's bank account information so that they can transfer funds into the account. What they will really do is use the information to wipe out the account.

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