What is Identity Safety?
Identity safety (also known as online safety or cyber-safety) can broadly be defined as the practices and precautions taken while using the Internet, so as to ensure that you and your personal information is protected. According to the FTC, an estimated 9 million people have their identities stolen each year. This is a relatively new concept that is increasing rapidly with advances in technology. The Internet, which allows us to easily exchange information at rapid rates, is a significant factor in determining why identity crime has become a growing global issue.
Your personal information includes:
Identity Theft (the legal issues)
Identity theft, identity fraud, impersonation...each of these terms involve the act of using another person's personal information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. The victim of identity theft can suffer detrimental consequences if they are held accountable for the perpetrator's actions.
Types of identity theft may include:
Financial Identity Theft
A criminal can use the victim's name and Social Security Number (SSN) to establish new lines of credit.
Criminal Identity Theft
The criminal can "borrow" a minor's personal information in order to obtain a driver's license or give to authorities if caught for in a criminal act.
Identity thieves use an identity for financial, criminal, and governmental purposes.
Using another's identity to obtain medical care or drugs
Child Identity Theft
When a child’s identity is used by another person for the imposter’s personal gain. The perpetrator may be a family member or someone known by the family. It could also be a stranger who purposely targets children because of the lengthy time between the theft of the information and the discovery of the crime.
According to The World Privacy Forum, "identity theft may be used to facilitate or fund other crimes including illegal immigration, terrorism, phishing, and espionage. There are cases of identity cloning to attack payment systems, including online credit card processing and medical insurance."
Did you know that credit issuers do not have a way to verify the age of an applicant? The information that an individual provides is typically what creditors will use when they process the application. This is often true with cases involving telephone and Internet applications. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, "In person, few credit issuers request proof of identity, a driver’s license for instance. Even then, many clerks have not been trained on how to recognize counterfeited or altered licenses." Due to this flaw in our system, many cases of identity theft go unnoticed or remain undetected for long periods of time.
A second misconception is that the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) are aware that fraudulent applicants are using the personal information of a minor. Unfortunately, there is little to no sharing of information about the age of a person between the CRAs and the Social Security. Administration.
Here is an example:
If the first application indicates that the applicant is 24, the credit agencies believe that person is 24 until a dispute is filed and proven.
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