If you know someone who has had their identity stolen, you know what a nightmare it can be. Identity theft usually occurs when someone gains access to your social security number, birth date, or credit history. The number of ways for people to gain access to this information is shocking, especially in this age of online banking and communications.
Thieves can dig through your trash to find all kinds of private and personal information. All they need is a copy of a recent bill, a receipt, a bank statement, or a form of correspondence from a creditor, and your whole life can change. Many people have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars--not to mention the collateral damage on their credit reports!
Once identity thieves get their hands on your information, they can use it to apply for credit cards and take out lines of credit in your name. Many people don't even know their credit has been hacked for months or even years. One of the first signs of identity theft is a phone call from a creditor who is looking to make payment arrangements for cards you didn't even know you had.
Identity thieves are quite clever. Once they get a credit card or other line of credit, ID thieves tend to go until someone or something stops them. They take money out using your gas cards and department store charge cards, and they write checks using your account information. If you want to catch identity theft early, you need to request a copy of your credit report. If you see new accounts or other suspicious activity, report it as soon as possible. For more identification theft stories and information, please continue to browse CreditReport.com.