Curious about 5 causes of identity theft? Identity theft is becoming one of the fastest growing crimes in America. Over nine million people in the United States have been victims of identity theft. If you haven't heard of it, identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it to make purchases, apply for credit cards, loans or mortgages or engage in other fraudulent pursuits. Different types of identity theft include credit card fraud, where an account number is stolen and used to purchase goods. The items are charge to the stolen card. New account fraud is also common, and is when the thief sets up a new account under the victim's name. Identity cloning is when the identity thief poses as the victim.
- The most common cause of identity theft is a lost or stolen wallet or credit card. Finding a lost card in a purse or wallet is like winning the lottery for identity thieves.
- Stealing mail. Some identity thieves steal mail, such as bank account statements, tax information, pre-approved credit cards and other offers that come in the mail.
- Dumpster-diving identity theft is also common. This is when the thieves go through trash cans seeking personal information such as bills, receipts and employment information that has been tossed in the trash without being shredded.
- People who are close to the victim of identity theft commit over half of the fraud. These include family members, care givers, friends and employees. Those people who have access to private records, Social Security numbers and insurance policies are potential identity thieves.
- Fraud over the internet is a leading cause of identity theft. This type of fraud is where fake websites are created to look like official, established banks or companies in order to steal personal information. These website links come to you through your email.
To avoid identity theft, always go to the official web page for your bank or credit card company. Do not use the links that are sent to you through your email. Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet. If an identity thief got a hold of it, he could do some serious damage.