Identity theft involves the access of someone’s information for the purpose of committing fraud, which is a serious crime. Almost $15 billion have been taken from people from identity theft in 2017 alone, and it can happen in a number of different ways. Hackers can access your information by initiating a data security breach, or you may unintentionally give it away during conversations on social media and other online platforms.
Some of this information can include, but may not be limited to:
- A Social Security number.
- A credit card or bank account numbers.
- The account numbers from auto or medical insurance policies.
- Details that can reveal account-recovery questions.
People who commit identity theft can use this information for any of the following:
- Pretending to be someone else.
- Maxing out your credit cards.
- Renting an apartment.
- Stealing your frequent-flier miles.
- Fulfilling a number of “bad-guy fantasies.”
They can even access the Social Security number of someone who has died to commit fraud, which can cause problems with the estate.
Types of Identity Theft
Many people associate identity theft with the stealing of credit card numbers or money from bank accounts, but there are other ways that people can commit these types of crimes. Some of these include, but may not be limited to:
- Criminal Identity Theft — When someone commits a crime and gives the police the wrong identifying information.
- Medical Identity Theft — When someone steals your health insurance card for the purpose of getting medical care or prescription drugs.
- Tax Identity Theft — When someone files a tax return in your name and takes your refund.
- Child Identity Theft — When someone opens an account by using a child’s Social Security number.
If you have been falsely accused of any of these crimes, you should get counsel from an identity theft attorney.
Warning Signs of Identity Theft
Once a thief has access to your personal information, they can use it to empty your bank accounts, charge things to your credit cards, open up utility accounts, and even get medical treatment on your health insurance. You should look for any of the following warning signs to find out if you have been a victim of identity theft:
- You see unexplained withdrawals on your bank account.
- You haven’t gotten your bills or any other type of mail.
- Merchants decline your checks or credit cards.
- You get calls from debt collectors about unfamiliar accounts.
- You start to see accounts or charges on your credit report that aren’t familiar.
- You get bills from medical providers for services you didn’t use.
- Your health care plan rejects a legitimate medial claim because you’ve reached your limit.
- You get declined for health care coverage because of a medical condition that you don’t have.
- You get notified by the IRS that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or you have income from an employer for which you never worked.
- You receive a notice that your information was compromised because of a data breach from a business with which you have an account or do business.
If your wallet, Social Security number, or any other personal information has been lost or stolen, you can take steps to protect yourself. Everyone should take precautionary measures to prevent identity theft. If you feel like you have been wrongfully accused of this type of crime, you should speak to a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Gale Law Group is a qualified criminal defense attorney in Corpus Christi, TX, and we have a team that help you with these types of cases. If you want more information about how we can help you, get in touch with us today!