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What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is a crime that occurs when someone uses Personally Identifiable Information (PII) without authorization.

What are Possible Consequences of Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone illegally uses key pieces of your PII to obtain credit, merchandise, or services. Identity theft can lead to damaged credit and leave the victim dealing with the pains of trying to reestablish their financial well being.

While numerous variations of the crime exist, an identity thief can involve using PII to:

  • Open new credit-card accounts
  • Take over existing credit-card accounts
  • Apply for loans
  • Rent apartments
  • Establish services with utility companies
  • Write fraudulent checks
  • Steal and transfer money from a bank account
  • File bankruptcy
  • Obtain employment

The problem that exists for most victims of identity theft is straightening out a damaged credit history. According to a survey conducted by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the California Public Interest Research Group, victims reported spending from $30 to $2,000 on costs related to their identity theft.The average loss was $808 from an incident not including lawyer fees.