What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone steals someone else's identity and personal information. Identity theft is a very serious crime that has been on the rise over the last decade and is becoming more common. If someone steals your identity you may not realize it has happened but it can affect you for months or years to come. You may have heard of identity theft in the news, but you're not really sure what it is or how it can affect your personal credit.

Identity theft occurs when someone steals someone else personal information, such as their name, Social Security numbers (SSN), account numbers and are used without their knowledge with the intent to commit fraud or theft. It is most commonly done when someone uses someone else's personal information to obtain credit in their name to steal funds or chattel for their benefit.

These Identity thieves in possession of consumers personal information can make unauthorized purchases on their credit cards apply for new credit cards, new loans, cash bad checks, lease cars or mislead authorities ultimately doing serious damage to their credit history.

You probably won't be held liable for fraudulent charges, but clearing your name and credit history can be a time consuming, frustrating and lengthy process. In the most serious cases, it could take months or even years to complete, and during that time you might find it hard to get a loan, rent an apartment or even be hired for a job. As with many crimes, the impact can be emotional as well as financial. Remember the impact on your financial history is very important to be proactive to clear up any issue and protect yourself.

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