According to Wikipedia, identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person’s name, and perhaps to the other person’s disadvantage or loss. The person whose identity has been assumed may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are held responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another’s personally identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.
Sources such as the Non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center sub-divide identity theft into five categories:
- Criminal identity theft (posing as another person when apprehended for a crime)
- Financial identity theft (using another’s identity to obtain credit, goods and services)
- Identity cloning (using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life)
- Medical identity theft (using another’s identity to obtain medical care or drugs)
- Child identity theft
For complete details on how you can report and recover from identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s identitytheft.gov web site.