Identity theft is the act of using someone else’s personal information to commit fraud. It can lead to an accumulation of debt in that person’s name, ruining their credit score and future financial prospects.
Identity thieves may also use the stolen identity to purchase items online, open new bank accounts, get government benefits, or even get married. But what are some consequences one may face if they ignore identity theft threats?
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs when a criminal uses someone else’s personal information to commit fraud. They may use someone else’s Social Security number, credit card information, or bank account details to make purchases, make phone calls, and otherwise illegally operate their criminal empire.
Some individuals may take a more proactive approach by checking their credit scores to ensure that they aren’t being pursued by criminals. But even those who are less informed about identity theft and fraud are susceptible to it if their information is available online, which is why you need to understand the basics of identity theft in order to protect yourself.
How Does It Happen?
Identity theft is a powerful tool for criminal enterprises. These organizations harvest and use personal information and home addresses in order to open credit card accounts in your name. Some credit card accounts might even be automatically renewed as a result of a criminal’s identity theft.
Other people may receive fraudulent bills or bills without paying for services like utilities or rent. It is important to note that even if you did not authorize an unauthorized purchase, you could still end up in a disastrous financial position because of a financial institution’s negligence in properly verifying your identity.
What Are The Consequences You Might Face If You Ignore Identity Theft Threats?
One of the most damaging effects of identity theft is the sense of power and control that the identity thief now has over the victim. By perpetrating fraud, the thief leaves their mark on the victim, opening the door for further exploitation.
If the criminal’s criminal life is in ruins because of the victim’s report, they will be harder to find by law enforcement.
Identity theft victims also have the added worry of potential governmental action – perhaps the victim may even be arrested, tried, and convicted. Perhaps worst of all, identity theft victims must suffer from a range of financial problems that have arisen as a direct result of their stolen personal information.
Credit card and bank account fraud victims often experience a loss of financial security, difficulty in obtaining new credit or opening new accounts, and significant, long-lasting loss of freedom.
Numerous victims are subject to civil lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, and even deportation because of the criminal activity of their compromised identity.
What to do if you discover your identity has been stolen
If you discover that you have been the victim of identity theft, the first step is to immediately notify your local law enforcement agencies.
Next, contact your financial institutions and file an identity theft report. There are many programs in place to assist victims with recovery from identity theft, including identity theft resolution, identity restoration, credit repair, protection of personal information, and identity theft insurance.
In the case of identity theft that led to large purchases being made with your debit cards, you need to be prepared with all relevant documents to prove to your financial institution that you are not responsible.
Banks are commonly victims of fraudulent chargebacks and false reports from consumers who are feeling buyers’ remorse, so they will interrogate you and demand evidence, especially in the event of large purchases that went unnoticed for some time.
Being a victim of identity theft can be an extremely frightening experience, but with knowledge of the proper steps to take, you can confront it directly and start rebuilding any damages done to your credit reputation.