What is identity theft?

Identity theft is a serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission.

They could use your:

  • Name and address
  • Credit card or bank account numbers
  • Social Security number
  • Medical insurance account numbers

Why should I care if someone steals my identity?

You will be responsible for what the thief does while using your personal information. You might have to pay for what the thief buys. This is true even if you do not know about the bills.

 

How can that happen?

  • A thief might get a credit card using your name.
  • He changes the address.
  • The bills go to him, but he never pays them.
  • That means the credit card company thinks you are not paying the bills.
  • That will hurt your credit.

This is the kind of trouble identity theft can cause for you.

What can a thief do with my personal information?

How do I know if someone steals my identity?

Sometimes, you can tell if someone steals your identity.

  • Read your bills. Do you see charges for things you did not buy?
  • Watch your bank account statement. Are there withdrawals you did not make? Are there changes you do not expect? 
  • Check your mail. Did you stop getting a bill? Or did you start getting a new bill you do not know about? 
  • Get your credit report. Are there accounts or other information you do not recognize? 
 
If you answer yes to any of these questions, someone might have stolen your identity.

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