Identity theft - Definition

The process by which a persons identity is used for fraudulent activities is referred to as identity theft. With your personal information, another person can obtain a driver's license, open new lines of credit and bank accounts, even buy a car and get a mortgage.

The term identity theft was coined in 1964 and is actually a misnomer because it is not literally possible to steal an identity as such - more accurate terms would be identity fraud or impersonation or identity cloning, but identity theft has become commonplace. In today's society of plastic cash, online transactions and data mining, nearly everyone is a potential victim of identity theft.

Ways to prevent identity theft:

- Don't give out personal information unless you have initiated the contact

- Place passwords on bank accounts, credit card accounts and other lines of credit

- Keep your social security card in a secure place like a safety deposit box or home safe

- Avoid giving out your social security number unless it is required to obtain a credit report, loan, or some other legitimate Transaction

- Do not give personal information to websites that are not using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to transfer the information

- Use a shredder for all paper and plastic that displays your personal information

Terms near "Identity theft"

Idiosyncratic risk
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