Identity theft is an incredibly common crime. The police recently arrested seven individuals from North Carolina who ran “Operation Homeless.” These individuals stole checks from numerous mailboxes of Wisconsin businesses. They altered the checks and had homeless people cash them and receive a small portion of the check value.
Anyone charged with identity theft needs to start creating a defense right away. It helps to understand the various degrees identity theft can take shape. Here are some common forms of identity theft.
1. Tax identity theft
Some individuals will make fraudulent tax refund claims. They then send these to the IRS using stolen personal details, such as a person’s name and Social Security number, which people can obtain relatively easily. This can prevent some people from getting their tax refunds promptly.
2. Synthetic identity theft
This is one of the most sophisticated forms of identity theft, which is why it does not happen too often. People take Social Security numbers and gather fake information. Some of this fake information can entail false names, addresses and birth dates. This allows the individuals to open a brand new credit card account and take advantage of other financial services. They can take this far and build credit and even apply for jobs. It is difficult to prevent this form of identity theft from occurring.
3. Insurance identity theft
This form of fraud ties closely to medical identity theft. Some legal professionals consider these two types to be identical. A person commits this when he or she steals medical information from a person to access his or her health insurance. Therefore, the fraudster can benefit from medical treatments while leaving the other person on the line for making the co-payment.
Some people may have identity theft insurance, which does not protect them from identity theft, but may alert them to the fact that someone is using their financial information.