Guide 2 Identity Theft - How To Protect Yourself
Guide 2 Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft
How It Happens
Types of Identity Theft
Commercial Identity Theft
Watch Out For
Credit Card Risks
Debit & ATM Cards
Spoofs & Phishing
Unsolicited Card Offers
Credit Reporting Agencies
If Your Identity Is Stolen
Guide 2 Identity Theft > What is Identity Theft
What is Identity Theft?
Everybody is proud of their name, their reputation and their accomplishments. That is because each person is unique, and has their own distinct identity.
It is annoying when somebody takes the credit for something you did. This kind of thing has happened to us all - it might have been a misunderstanding by the coach, teacher, parent or boss that caused the problem, more than the other person who got all the praise. And it is especially annoying if the other person basks in the glory of the moment when you think that they really should turn and give at least some of the credit on to you. You soon learn it's part of life, and to "just get over it" and move on. This kind of thing usually does not really matter in the bigger scheme of things.
However, the problem becomes much more serious when your identity is not just borrowed for a moment, but is actually deliberately stolen and used for profit by someone else. Worse, there may be serious consequences for you personally:
If it happened to you, you would have every right to feel aggrieved. These kinds of identity theft are crimes, and you would have become a victim of crime. Unfortunately, the processes to recover your losses and put your reputation right may well take a long time, and perhaps at great emotional cost and financial expense to you. This process will take place for you at a very intimate and hurtful personal level, because it is your personal reputation that is at stake.
The problem for those in authority is deciding who, in fact, is the perpetrator of identity theft - you or the thief. Put yourself in their position: both you and the identity thief seem to be the same person. We all have rights, even thieves pretending to be you, and we are all assumed to be innocent until proven guilty under our legal system. Until you or an investigator can show clear evidence one way or the other, and until those in authority accept you are the "real" you, and what you have or have not done, then you may feel under suspicion as the thief yourself. You may find it necessary to engage an identity theft attorney. You should expect to be somewhat frustrated as the wheels of justice slowly grind away to sort out these questions. It may well take several years to fully clear your records of the damage an identity thief can do to your reputation.
And for all these reasons, it is wise to take whatever measures you reasonably can to prevent your identity being stolen in the first place.
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