Identity Theft – What to Expect

Knowing that criminals can target victims by stealing their identity from as simple as a retail store credit card swiping machine is worrisome, but more devastating is becoming a victim of such a theft. Identity fraud can be a stressful experience because of the time and money involved. It is estimated that more than 10 million Americans get their identities stolen every year. This means every four seconds someone is impersonating someone else and ruining the victim’s financial status and good name.

Identify theft is not just assuming another person’s name and taking advantage of it, but using personal information to obtain loans, credit cards, making unauthorized purchases and using the victim’s name to establish a new identity. The fraudster may even use this information to conduct a wide range of illegal activities including obtaining employment. Criminals who commit identify fraud are clever in obtaining confidential data from unsuspecting victims. In some cases, they will change the victim’s address by completing a change of address form and direct all mails and bills to the new address. Sometimes, these criminals will get access to the victim’s trash cans and collect bank statements, pre-qualified credit cards, bills and any paper containing personal and financial information. Other times, they will pretend to be the victim and obtain information from banks, credit card companies and other sources over the phone. There are many instances where thieves have stolen wallets, briefcases and purses and used their checks and credit cards to go on a shopping spree. Identity thieves have even gone on to the length of going to their victims’ homes to steal and commit more crimes.

Once the information of the victim is obtained, these criminals will indulge in a number of illegal doings such as spending with stolen credit cards and checks, opening new credit card with the obtained information, obtaining mortgage and car loans at their will and establishing internet or cell phones in the name of the victim. What the victims need to do when they suspect identity theft is to immediately report it to their banks, financial institution and credit card companies, and above all to the local police department. But sometimes, the theft goes unnoticed for days, weeks even months. No wallet is missing, no one is calling from the bank and bills are in the mail on a regular basis. For more info, visit a site like

So, how to know if the identity theft has taken place or is in the progress? There are several warning signs to be on the lookout for. For example, your credit report may be listing a new credit card account that you never signed up for or received. That monthly bill statement from your bank or credit card company is showing a new charge that you know nothing about. You have stopped receiving paper bills all of a sudden without your prior consent. You are receiving bills from retail stores and companies you have never done business with. These are all the obvious signs that your identity is compromised.