Types of Identity Theft: An Overview

No doubt, you have heard about identity theft. You know, generally, what it means, in terms of your personal information, but do you know how many different types of identity theft have been reported or even which types are the most common? Below is some information that can help you learn what to be on alert for in your accounts.

Least Common Types

According to a study by Javelin, using identity theft statistics through 2009, there are several types of identity theft that are common. Among these, the three types that occur less frequently are employment fraud, loan fraud, and government fraud. Combined, these three types make up about one-fourth of all reported cases. Many people don’t even realize you can use a stolen identity to be hired for a job or to obtain Social Security payments.

Two More Common Uses

At 17% and 18% of all cases respectively, bank fraud and utilities fraud are two of the most frequently seen types of identity theft in the United States. Bank fraud, as its name suggests, involves using someone else’s ATM code to steal money from their account, creating fake checks under their name, or using their debit card for transactions. Utilities fraud, on the other hand, is the use of your identity, without your permission, to turn on utilities for the thief. Sadly, this kind of identity theft is very common among friends and relatives.

Most Common

While the numbers for the other types of identity theft are impressive, the most common type is credit card fraud. More than one-fourth of all of these crimes involve either the fraudulent use of a victim’s credit card or the opening of a new credit card account in the victim’s name. Unfortunately, credit card fraud can also have the fastest and most damaging effects on a credit report. In a matter of one week, a thief can apply for and receive multiple credit cards. In less than two weeks, all of those cards could be maxed out, and by three months, the victim’s credit report will be in shambles.

The Last Category

A whopping 18% of identity theft types are categorized as “Other.” This would include using an identity when accused of a crime, to cover medical bills, to take out insurance, and many additional, more obscure types of id theft. There is a huge range of ways your personal and financial information can be misused, so stay alert.