Is Identity Theft a Crime?

person stealing somebody's identity including passwords

Yes! It is!

Identity theft is “the crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person in order to use their identity to commit fraud, such as unauthorized transactions or purchases.” Central Florida Bonding wants you to know more about identity theft including, common types of identity theft, how identity theft occurs, and how to protect yourself and your children from identity theft.

Identity theft happens when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge. The thief can use your name, your address, your social security number, your credit/debit card numbers, your bank account numbers, and even your medical insurance numbers. This is a serious crime that can have major effects upon you.

Common types of identity theft include:

•Financial theft: Stealing your financial information such as bank/credit card or social security number. Thieves can then purchase items from an existing account or even open new accounts using your name
•Medical theft: Using your name/personal information to get medical service, prescription drugs, or medical insurance coverage
•Criminal Identity theft: Where a person gives a fake name/credentials to a law enforcement personnel. This could result in criminal charges being filed against the actual person instead of the criminal
•Child Identity theft: Where a person steals a child’s identity usually through a social security number and uses that information to buy things, get credit, obtain identification and more
•Tax-related theft: A thief uses a person’s social security number in order to get access to their tax refund

There are many ways that criminals can use your personal information to their benefit.

How do criminals get your personal information?

These are a few common ways that thieves gain access to your information:
•Mail theft: A thief steals your mail. They either outright steal from your mailbox or they have your mail re-routed by submitting a change of address to the post office
•Trash picking: Thieves will go dumpster diving or pick through your trash in order to find useful information that you have disposed of. This information could be bank statements, bills, medical insurance, and more
•Shoulder surfing: This is where a thief looks over your shoulder to gain access to your personal information such as your pin number or password
•Stealing your purse or wallet: Thieves steal your purse or wallet and use the information in there to their benefit
•Skimming: This is where your debit or credit cards magnetic strip is recorded and sent to another electronic device. This is common on gas pumps.
•Phishing and vishing: Where a thief tricks you into providing personal information via your computer or telephone

How can you prevent a thief from stealing your personal information?

Central Florida Bonding offers these tips to help protect your personal information:
•Check your accounts frequently to make sure there are no suspicious charges
•Keep all of your personal information in a safe place especially birth certificates, social security cards, and passports
•Shred paperwork that has personal information on it
•Retrieve your mail from your mailbox as soon as possible
•Do not give out your personal information to people on the computer/phone unless you have initiated the call and double checked to make sure that you are dealing with a reputable company
•Be aware of your surroundings when you are at an ATM or anywhere that you are entering your pin number for a financial transaction
•Keep your purse zipped and secure, close to your body, and within sight at all times. Men should put their wallet in their front pocket and be aware of their surroundings
•Keep your credit/debit card within your sight when paying at a restaurant. Many restaurants now offer you the opportunity to pay at the table. Fast food places offer mobile ordering or Apple/Google pay.
•Get a free copy of your credit report once a year and make sure that everything is correct on it

Identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. Recovering from identity theft could be a long and drawn-out process.

If you’ve become a victim of identity theft then make sure to do these items:

•Notify the companies that you deal with that fraud has occurred
•Make sure to put a fraud alert on your credit report
•Report your identity theft to the police

We hope these tips will help protect you, your family members and friends.

Central Florida Bonding bonds clients out of jail for many charges including identity theft, domestic violence, theft, DUI, assault, battery, and more. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year. To start the bail bond process, please contact us at 407-841-3646. All of our bail bond agents are experienced, knowledgeable, and ready to assist you.
We serve all of Central Florida including Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Osceola, and Lake counties. Your neighbors have counted on us since 1979 to bond them out of jail. Rely on us to help you too, give us a call today.

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