Identity Theft – Five Legal Concerns If Your Identity Is Stolen
Identity theft refers to a form of crime where one person assumes the identity of another person with an intention to access their resources and profit from using the benefits that are due to them. As a result of these activities the victims can stand to be persecuted and suffer the consequences of being held responsible for the perpetrator’s actions. This form of crime is one of the highest rising and is steadily growing and affecting a large number of people every year. Identity theft can easily occur when a person comes into possession of your name and address which they can use to obtain a driver’s license. Such a simple act can lead to the same person opening a bank account in your name and also applying for an ATM card. A more serious scenario can occur if such a person gains access to your social security number. With such information they will be able to cause even more damage, and the impact of this may not be easily reversible.
In the United States it is estimated that there were more than 11.1 million victims of identity theft in 2009 with losses incurred amounting to more than $54 billion. There are legal concerns that can arise from someone stealing your identity. They can resort to using your identity in several ways which results in them committing various crimes. The five most common cases are:
This is whereby the culprit usually obtains loans under your name. Needless to say the perpetrator of this crime is not responsible for the loan repayment. The bank therefore holds the victim accountable and usually charges them with repaying the loan. In some cases, the identity thief may use fake papers to collect down payments on alleged loans whereupon they disappear after obtaining the cash. These criminals may therefore pose as individuals and even institutions.
Credit Card Fraud
In this case the identity criminals may use your credit cards or related means of payment for purchases that they have made. They can also obtain funds from your account without your knowledge. Some of the criminals even intercept your mail just to ensure that you do not receive notification from the banks.
This refers to a situation where identity criminals use false means to access your money, assets or any form of property that may be held by individuals or even financial institutions. Bank fraud can involve various forms which occur whenever someone comes into possession of your details and uses them to access your money. Identity criminals can therefore write checks using your account which you will ultimately be responsible for.
Identity criminals can use your personal information to obtain a job in your name. If you happen to have a clean credit and civil record most employers will be glad to give you an opportunity to work. These criminals usually take advantage of this clean slate to look for employment using your identity. Most of these criminals also use this information to offer other people jobs especially immigrants or steal funds from them in the hope of finding them employment.
This involves the identity thieves targeting the insurers. They can use your medical records to claim your insurance and medical benefits. They can also use this information to obtain your automobile insurance or even property insurance. Once this crime is detected it goes without saying you will be ultimately held responsible for the amounts that were stolen.
The biggest problem with identity theft is that as a victim you may not immediately realize that it has occurred to you. In fact most people realize this when it is too late and they have been denied insurance or even when they are arrested. That being said, the best way to deal with identity theft may lie in adequately protecting yourself. You should therefore ensure that you properly guard your personal information especially when using it in public places, especially computers. It is also advisable to regularly monitor your credit report. This way you will be able to detect any suspicious activity going on in your account. Identity theft is a major crime affecting a lot of people and causing the economy to face massive losses. You should therefore be very vigilant to ensure that you do not fall victim to identity theft.