The Most Common Types Of Identity Theft

Author Jose-Miguel Maldonado

When you hear the phrase “Identity Theft” you may think of someone using your social security number to open up a new line of credit or someone taking your photo and creating a fake ID card. The truth is that identity theft is actually a broad term that can encompass several different mediums by which an identity is used.

Here is a quick primer on six different types of identity theft:

1. SSN Identity Theft

a. SSN is used to open lines of credit/new credit cards

2. Financial Identity Theft

a. Bank accounts and credit cards are accessed and used illegally

3. Child Identity Theft

a. A child’s SSN is used maliciously

4. Medical Identity Theft

a. Medical and health insurance fraud

5. DL Identity Theft

a. Using someone’s Driver’s License # to create a new identity

6. Synthetic Identity Theft

a. Combining info from multiple victims (e.g. photo from one, DOB from another, SSN from another) to create a new identity

Regardless of which identity theft we’re referring to, they all have negative implications for the people whose identities have been compromised. A report from 2014 stated that occurrences of identity theft happened every two seconds. In 2018, it was reported that there were roughly 16.7 million victims of identity theft – this was just what was reported and it’s safe to say there were probably more victims.

How Can Your Identity Get Stolen?

  • Stolen checks/mail

  • Credit card skimmers

  • Malware

  • Data breaches

  • MiTM attacks

  • Data brokers

  • Social Engineering

  • Insider Threat

Whenever identity theft occurs, the impact could be long-lasting. Some potential effects are: emotional or financial stress, reputation is tarnished, physical repercussions, and feelings of vulnerability or self-blame may occur.

The good news is that there are things you can do to help combat and also prevent identity theft from happening in the first place:

  • Enable alerts for financial accounts/credit cards

  • Put a fraud alert, or better yet, a credit freeze with all four credit reporting agencies (Experian, Transunion, Equifax, Innovis)

  • Use a secure PO Box/mailbox

  • Leverage USPS Informed Delivery