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Discover The Definition Of Identity Theft And How It's Done

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The United States Federal Trade Commission appeared before the U.S. Congress in 1997 and presented their Definition of Identity Theft and some of the more common ways I.D. stealing is accomplished and used.

Paraphrased Definition: "Vital personal information of individuals and business entities which is illegally appropriated, by criminal perpetrators for fraudulent use." Once these unscrupulous individuals or sophisticated, organized, financial theft rings obtain the information, it can be used many different ways to create a financial catastrophe on business and individuals.

Perhaps the most common and easiest way to commit fraud, with the personal information, is to use stolen credit cards and credit card numbers too purchase items, which can be used personally or sold quickly for the "quick buck". The thief steals the credit cards by lifting purses, pick pocketing, breaking into automobiles, homes, offices or raiding the residential or company mail box of the unsuspecting. Many of the small time criminals will use this method to finance their drug habit.

Although this may sound like small potatoes to the consumer, this method alone can quickly run up hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, of personal or corporate debt on a credit card. Although under U.S. law the lending institutions can only hold the individual accountable for the first $50.00, of the fraudulent charges, it can create an administrative nightmare for the individual and business because of bad debt reporting by the lending institutions.

As far as individuals are concerned credit card theft is a major problem and can result in much damage to their credit standing. However, there is one bit of personal information which can cause even more financial and credit damage. This is a series of nine numbers known as the social security number.

When a thief obtains the social security number, especially of a wealthy individual, it can give them access to more credit cards, bank accounts, investment accounts, mortgages against property and much other financial data. In addition by having the social security number the bandit can obtain false documents such as driversí license, passport, birth certificates, degrees and professional licensing.

As the United States Congress, the local states and local governments have taken measures to protect the consumer and businesses from illegal use of I.D. information, it still comes back on the individual and businesses to institute measures that will keep them safe from financial harm. When reading the above information, it is easy to realize how the definition of identity theft can be expounded on, to cover a multitude of sin.

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