There are plenty of things that you could own. Some may have been bought, others given to you, and still other passed along from generation to generation. Those things may have a monetary value, they may have a sentimental value. They may be things like pictures or heirlooms that would be worth little to anyone other than the people who know their history. Of course, the problem with owning something is that it could be stolen. Or it could even be lost due to something like fire, flood, or some other natural cause.
And naturally, there are plenty of thieves out there who would steal your possessions if given the chance. One other item that can be stolen from individuals is something extremely personal. That item is a person's identity.
To increase the general awareness of identity theft it is important to define identity theft. In order to define identity theft it is imperative to know how society defines identity theft and how it can occur. Just What Is Identity Theft, Anyway? In order to be aware of identity theft, provide protection and prosecute those who steal another's identity, it is important to define identity theft. Identity theft is that action or actions taken by another for the purpose of misrepresenting themselves as that individual in order to commit fraudulent acts. Those fraudulent acts can include the illegal accessing of that person's financial accounts or committing acts of crime.
Those acts of crime could include creating new credit cards accounts, obtaining a loan, etc. One of the most common and severe results of identity theft is some type of financial loss. Having your identity stolen can have a negative effect on your finances when someone is able to access your credit cards, bank accounts and other personal data. Plus, if it continues for long it can have a big impact on your good name. Credit reports, criminal records, employment history - they can all be affected by identity theft. If you run into these problems, it can take years to undo.
How Identity Theft Occurs Additionally, when asked to define identity theft, it may be beneficial to discuss how identity theft occurs. Often identity theft takes place when critical pieces of information are obtained from the individual who is being stalked by an identity theft thief. These pieces of critical information are generally identification numbers or data that only the owner of that information is privy to. Some of those numbers could be social security numbers, personal identification numbers (PINs), passwords, a mother's maiden name, date of birth, etc. These numbers can be obtained fraudulently by thieves who pose as representatives of service or financial companies in order to obtain these highly sensitive numbers. It is important for the reader to understand that under no circumstances should they give out these sensitive numbers to individuals who ask for them.
Often a company is very clear that they will never ask for these sensitive numbers unless the customer has initiated the call. In addition, often a company will only ask for the last four numbers of a person's 9 digit social security number. Also, identity thieves may look through trash or steal a person's purse or wallet. It is therefore very important to shred all unwanted mail that contains sensitive information as well as never carrying your social security card with you.
Are you looking for more tips about how you can prevent identity theft? Get more helpful information about how to protect yourself from this and other online security threats at the Online Security Toolkit website.