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Money and Finance

Identity Theft

What is it?

Identity theft is when a thief uses someone's personal data to steal from them.

What type of information do they steal?

Identity thieves use information like a person's address, full name, social security number, passwords, credit card numbers, and bank account information.

How do they use this information to steal money?

Identity thieves are very clever in how they can use this information including:
Why is it so bad?

Identity theft has become the fastest growing crime in the United States. In 2012, around 16.6 million people were victims of identity theft. The losses associated with identity theft totaled $24.7 billion. This is greater than the loss from all other property crimes combined.

Is this something new?

Although the idea of identity theft is not new, the rapid growth of identity theft only started in the 1990's. It wasn't until 1998 that the United States passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Act which first made identity theft a federal crime.

Preventing Identity Theft

The Department of Justice says you can reduce your risk by doing four things that each start with a letter in the word "SCAM."
What do I do if I my identity has been stolen?

There is a lot to do once you realize you've become an identity theft victim. The first thing to do is to report it to the authorities. You can call the FTC, the FBI, the Secret Service, and the local police. You should also contact all three of the major credit reporting companies: Trans Union, Equifax, and Experian. Then you will need to contact the banks, businesses, and creditors where your false identity has been wrongly used.

Interesting Facts About Identity Theft

Learn More about Money and Finance:

Personal Finance

Filling out a Check
Managing a Checkbook
How to Save
Credit Cards
How a Mortgage Works
How Interest Works
Insurance Basics
Identity Theft

About Money

History of Money
How Coins are Made
How Paper Money is Made
Counterfeit Money
United States Currency
World Currencies
Money Math

Counting Money
Making Change
Basic Money Math
Money Word Problems: Addition and Subtraction
Money Word Problems: Multiplication and Addition
Money Word Problems: Interest and Percent


How Banks Work
How the Stock Market Works
Supply and Demand
Supply and Demand Examples
Economic Cycle
Adam Smith
How Taxes Work
Glossary and Terms

Note: This information is not to be used for individual legal, tax, or investment advice. You should always contact a professional financial or tax advisor before making financial decisions.

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