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What is Identity Theft?

This kind of theft usually occurs when someone takes possession of personal information such as your name, address, social security number, credit cards and/or driver's license along with other data. The intent behind committing this crime is to take
illegal advantage of your identity, and your assets. The goal is for the thief to avoid the repercussions of their dishonest actions through impersonation of the victim. In some cases identity thieves have even gone as far as to try and sell property and embez-
zle the money.

Identity theft has become one of the most common criminal offences in Canada.
The largest credit bureaus in Canada receive over 1,800 identity theft complaints a month from Canadian Citizens.

Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in America.
The Federal Trade Commission reports that identity theft has been the NUMBER ONE consumer complaint for TWELVE consecutive years. Here are just a few facts:
• There are currently over 27,000 NEW identity theft victims EVERY DAY!
• Over 512 million Americans' Identities have been reported lost or stolen since January 2010.
• Over 400,000 dead people opened bank accounts last year.
• The revenue from trafficking financial data has surpassed that of drug trafficking. - US Secret Service
• Over 3.5 million children have already fallen victim to identity theft in the US.
• "Identity Theft is poised to increase by a factor of 20 over the next two years. The criminals are still trying to figure out what
to do with all the data."
• You are THREE times more likely to have your identity stolen than you are to have your house or car broken into.
• The average dollar amount charged in Identity Theft: $92,893
• The average time taken by a victim to restore their identity is 607 hours.
• Most identity theft issues are non-credit related.
What most people don't understand is that there are 6 common types of ID theft not to mention data breeches from companies large or small. The common types are: Character and Criminal, Employment, SSA and IRS related, Medical, Financial, Drivers License, and Minor Children and Elderly. Robert Allen Taylor.

1. Financial / Credit Identity Theft
Credit identity theft occurs when someone uses your information to obtain loans, goods or services and doesn't pay the bills.
Their actions often include opening a credit card account fraudulently and attaining government benefits, passing bad cheques
or opening a new bank account. Getting loans in another person's name is another way that identity thieves are able to attain finances. Due to the accumulation of bills the victim's line of credit is often negatively affected.

2. Medical Identity Theft
Through the use of a name and other aspects of one's identity the thief obtains medical insurance in the victim's name or uses
their current medical insurance policy to obtain medical care or prescription drugs. Using the stolen identification, the thief is
able to obtain consent to have medical services, or goods provided. If you are a victim of medical theft, you can be denied
health coverage or lose your current health coverage because of false information being put on your medical record. This type
of identity theft is the most dangerous form due to the thief's ability to change existing medical records that could potentially
be life threatening for the victim, and is unfortunately the hardest theft to track, stop and fix.

3. Criminal and character Identity Theft
This type of identity theft occurs when someone has personal information including a valid driver's license and other forms of ID. Identity culprits are then able to obtain other false credentials to show authenticity to the stolen identity. The ID thief then impersonates the victim when apprehended for any type of crime or illegal act. They use the victim's information so that the
crime will not show up on their own record and instead on the victim's. In this situation warrants could be issued for your arrest,
you could be detained and end up spending time in jail for a crime you didn't commit. Often this type of identity theft is disco-
vered when the victim is pulled over and ticketed for speeding or a smaller road violation. Criminal ID theft is just as difficult as medical ID theft since it is difficult to explain, fix and stop.

4. Social Security Identity Theft  (Employment)
Your social security number (SSN) may be the most valuable piece of personal information a thief can steal. With this one
piece of identification, a dishonest person can obtain other personal information to validity the identity. In some cases when a
social security number is stolen the thief uses it when hired onto a new job. Specifically, they use your name and identity as
their own. The thief's employer reports wages and the victim is forced into paying income taxes on those earnings. Another repercussion to this form of theft is that the victim will lose life sustaining benefits.

5. Synthetic Identity Theft
Synthetic ID theft is a fairly new type of identity theft and in which the criminal attempts to convince people that they are
another person who is either real or fictional. In this case a thief will take information from various victims and combine it to
create a new identity. In this case all victims whose information has been collected and used in the new identity will negatively
be affected, although some more than others. Synthetic identities can be completely fabricated in some cases but a common technique is to obtain a real SSN number. This type of theft is more difficult to catch because the perpetrators credit report is difficult to track and obtain.

6. Child Identity Theft
Child ID theft occurs when a social insurance number is obtained and used to impersonate a child. Young children are an easily accessible target for identity theft because they are completely unaware that their information is being used, and discovery of
this theft is usually not until the child is older. For this reason child identity theft has become a growing concern that can be
difficult to avoid. When children are young the last thing they are concerned about is checking their credit. Often the culprit is a close family member or family friend who has stolen such information. Because the victim typically knows the person who has taken their identity, legal action is often not pursued.

Protect Yourself Against ID Theft
As long as "trusted" facilitators and have access to private information, you are always at risk for identity theft. It only takes this valuable information to fall into the wrong hands once, for identity theft to ensue and cause an uproar of liabilities for the victim.
To protect your assets including your property, credit rating, insurance and finances from being taken from you by an identity
thief, avoid giving out personal information as much as possible, shred all unwanted mail, and never carry your SSN card with
you. As well, keep private information out of eye sight and monitor your credit regularly.

Author. Ann Jolliffe. She believes that it is important to have piece of mind when it comes to your family's overall well being and safety. It is a good idea to invest in Insurance London Ontario so that those we hold dear to us will always have financial security. Visit website.

Stop Identity Theft with these tips

Beware of Dumpster Diving
This refers to searching someone's trash to find documents, bills, bank statements, etc. These contain personal details that
can be used by thiefs.Securily shred all these documents, bills, etc.

Protect Your Social Security Number

Beware of suspicious emails
Do not open attachments. Many contain a virus or trojan program and can seriously damage your PC. Delete emails (scams)
from so called "banks or financial and credit card institutions." They look genuin and the logos are identical to the real thing. Different scenarios are used that encourage you to click on a link. DON'T. It tricks you into revealing personal information.
This is called Phising.

Beware of Pretexting
Pretexting is a form of social engineering (the art of deception). Pretexting is a very common way for fraudsters to social
engineer their way into your live and take over your identity. In other words; Pretexting involves making false statements or
false representations in an efford to obtain personal information about you. Pretexting is illegal.
Pretexting begins by calling the victim, using a script or a pretext such as "Hi, this is ?????  from the electrical company,
we’re doing a survey"
When sufficient details are gained from the victim, the attacker then calls the victim’s telecommunications or banking com-
pany, claiming to be the victim. All other information necessary can be gleaned during this process if the attacker keeps his
cool. Using a first and last name and social one can reset the PIN on a victim’s bank account, or add another phone line to

Beware of Skimming
Skimming is the act of capturing information or data on a magnetic strip of a credit or debit card. This occurs when a
special device, called a skimmer (hand-held card reader), is used to steal credit or debit card information when processing
the person's card or by means of devices attached onto ATM's. Thiefs can easily fit fake card readers (skimmers) over the
card slot.
When you put your card into the slot it first goes through the skimmer where the information is collected. For that information
to be usable the PIN also needs to be collected. Thiefs use PIN capturing devices to record your PIN number (pin codes) as
they are typed in. A PIN capturing device is either a micro camera or a keypad overlay. A micro camera can be mounted somewhere nearby that has a good view of the keypad. These cameras are usually well disguised. A  keypad overlay is
placed over the existing ATM keypad.

Here is what you can do to protect yourself.
If you have to use an ATM make sure a fake card reader, a micro camera or keypad overlay has not been attached. And cover
the ATM keypad with your hand and your body as you enter your PIN.
Always try to pay with cash. This alleviates all risks. Always use a credit card because you can check your statements each month and dispute charges you haven't made. Never pay using your debit card because this can easily clean out your account
as the money is taken out right away.
Check your bank and credit card transactions weekly to spot and report any unauthorised credit or debit transactions as
quickly as possible.

A typical card skimmer has a magnetic strip reader and local flash memory to store all the card data. Newer advanced skim-
mers are now being fitted with 3G radios so they can transmit skimmed card data back real time over the cellular network.
This eliminates the need for the thief to return later and collect his card skimmer with all of the data on it.

Learn more here.

This image of an ATM (Automated Teller Machine ) gives an indication where to look for a hidden camera, a skimmer and
a keypad overlay.
Hidden Camera - Cameras are usually concealed somewhere on the front of an ATM or can be mounted somewhere nearby.
Skimmer - It looks very similar to the original card reader and fits right over the card reader.
Keypad overlay - The Keypad overlay is directly on top of the ATM keypad.

New technology
The latest skimmer innovation is a device so thin it can be inserted directly into the ATM’s card reader slot as opposed to
covering the original with a look-a-like device. That’s according to two recent reports from the European ATM Security Team (EAST).

RFID Skimmer Could Steal Your Credit Card Number While It's Still in Your Wallet. You may have already received one of the
latest improvements in credit card technology -- a card with an embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) chip.

Use complicated and strong Passwords for online accounts
To be clear, any password can be cracked. There are free password-hacking programs available that can crack just about
any password in minutes. However, ease and speed are the desired cracks and passwords that are strong or have a good Bit Strength do not accommodate. Passwords with at least 14 characters and using what I like to refer to as U.L.N.S. (combining upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters) will provide a robust password not easily or quickly broken. If
only 6 or 8 characters are available maintain the use of U.L.N.S. Every single account that requires a password should have a different unique password.  
Don't use one password for several accounts. Using the same password for all accounts means if one is hacked all your eggs
are cracked. Never share passwords or PINs.
Secure your online and ATM passwords and PINs

Remember, numerous and different tactics are used to steal personal and private information

Avoid online bill paying through merchant websites.
Many banks and credit unions offer an online bill payment system from within their secured banking system. If they offer such
a service, use it. Nearly all municipalities, private businesses, and credit card companies offer Web Payment options through
their systems, sometimes adding the tempting offer of discounts for signing up for automated payments debited directly from
the consumer's bank accounts. When a consumer uses the vendor website to pay online the vendor has been given a free
pass into the private banking account of the consumer, albeit temporarily for that transaction. Even worse is if the consumer
agrees to have automatic payments taken, which is an ongoing permission of unrestricted access to personal accounts of consumers. Because this is agreed upon by the consumer there is no protection to resolve disputes or outright theft. There
is no protection of account information. When using the financial institutions internal systems, there is encryption and security
and best of all, liability and responsibility protection.