Identity Theft

Types of identity theft

Tax-related identity theft. In cases of tax-related identity theft, a perpetrator gains access to your Social Security number, then uses it to apply for employment or file taxes and get a tax refund in your name.

Keep in mind that the IRS never initiates communication with a taxpayer via email, text message, or social media and never asks for financial information via these methods. If you do receive a suspicious message from someone claiming to be the IRS, don't answer it. Instead, forward it to phishing@IRS.gov or speak to a local tax expert about it.

Medical identity theft. In cases of medical identity theft, perpetrators gain access to your health insurance information or Medicare identification and use it to gain access to medical care or fill prescriptions. In these cases, discrepancies will show up in medical bills, explanations of benefits, and medical records.

Bank and credit card fraud. Thieves gain access to bank account numbers, passwords, credit card numbers, and pre-approved credit card offers in your name. They use that information to make fraudulent charges or bank withdrawals. Thieves also may apply for loans or lines of credit, or get credit cards in your name.

Cybercrime. Thieves gain access to identifying data via the Internet. This may include user IDs, passwords, and security answers for e-commerce, online banking, payment services, and other types of websites. Thieves may also solicit personal information via email, text message, or social media by pretending to represent a legitimate institution, such as a bank, creditor, government agency, educational institution, or charity.

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