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5 Types of Identity Theft

Updated on June 16, 2011

When people think of identity theft, they usually only think of credit card fraud and don't realize there are other ways their identity can be compromised. Having ones identity stolen in the United States has become a major epidemic and only stands to get worse instead of better. Here is a list of the most common types of identity theft in the United States

1. Driver's License Identity Theft

Someone steals your driver's license number and may commit a crime, such as a DUI, a DWI, a hit and run, or parking tickets. Don't laugh - in New York City people go to jail, get their cars impounded or locked just for outstanding parking tickets. In any city in the US you don't realize it until you are involved in a regular routine traffic stop and you find out you have a warrant out for your arrest.

2. Social Security Identity Theft

With the immigration problem we face in the United States, many illegal aliens will make up a Social Security number in order to work. The made up number they have chosen turns out to be a valid number, yours. Your social security card may be stolen and used by an illegal. There are between 15 to 30 million illegal aliens working in the United States with a viable Social Security card. Most places of employment only check to see if the number is a legal Social Security number, but they a little on the lax side when it comes to cross referencing and varifying that the names or states match up with the Social Security number. Many times you will never find out unless the IRS claims that you have unreported taxes to pay.

There have been instances of people collecting Social Security Disability payments or Welfare payments fraudulently and have only been discovered when the true owner of the Social Security number had retired and tried to file.

I read a report of a woman who went to file for her Social Security, only to find out she had been dead for two years, according to the Social Security Department and the Department of Vital Statistics, yet her FICA payments were still being taken out of her paychecks!

3. Medical Identity Theft

If someone goes to a hospital using your Social Security number, and that person has something like a heart condition, cancer or diabetes, it could prevent you from getting health insurance or even a job when a background check is completed on you.

If you had a medical emergency it could also effect the way you get treated in the ER because of the false medical history on file with the Medical Information Bureau. This is a scary thought if you are allergic to a medication but your medical record doesn't show it because of someone else using your medical identity.

4. Criminal Identity Theft

Someone committing a crime using your identity could wreck havock in your life. Once "your" record is entered into the National Criminal Information Data Base or the National Sex Offenders Data Base, you may have a difficult time getting a job or renting an apartment or home once a criminal background check has been completed.

The attorney fees to rectify the situation once it has been discovered can be astronomical, let alone the time and stress involved to get the situation straightened out. On average it is taking 3 to 5 years to rectify a case of identity theft.

5. Credit/Financial Identity Theft

This type of identity theft, or fraud , is the type of identity theft that most people are familiar with. A thief will steal your identity and the proceed to wipe you out financially by opening credit card accounts, taking out loans, financing mortgages off the equity in your home, buying cars, going on cruises and once they have completely exhausted your credit, some have even left the country in "your" name with the airline tickets purchases by "you".

The best thing for anyone to do is research how you can protect yourself. Find out what will work best for you and your life style so that it never happens to you.


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    • profile image

      SafeCard 7 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      This is a random crime that everybody could be the next victim and this con men are getting innovative in their ways.

      We can't simply rely on Law enforcements as they usually act on the aftermath.

      Self-awareness and precautions is a must!

      Nice post!

    • Eileen Hughes profile image

      Eileen Hughes 10 years ago from Northam Western Australia

      Very very good topic hub. No one is safe anymore. Especially when your local councils or shires sell your details to people for money. A guy rang us up one day about our swimming pool. When I asked him where he got our information he said he bought it from the council. I promptly told him sorry but you just lost this customer.

      So what hope have we got.

    • Rudra profile image

      Rudra 10 years ago

      Cant even trust the government to keep our identities safe.

    • KonaGirl profile image

      KonaGirl 10 years ago from Slingerlands

      Everyone really needs to be aware that it CAN happen to you.