Am certain that every grown-up now realizes that identity theft is the number one crime in most developed countries. It has grown to be an endemic putting every person at great risk. And, to add salt to the injury, most individuals never realize that their identity is stolen until it’s too late.
But we all admittedly confess that we have to deal with the biggest misconception associated with identity theft – that it only affects those with credit cards. If you also believe that identity theft affects those with credit cards alone, then am sure you really want to continue reading this article.
Apart from identity theft related to credit, below are four other sets of identity theft that don’t actually affect your credit but can totally ruin your life.
- Character identity theft – in this case of identity theft, an individual impersonates you and goes ahead committing a crime using your name and as a result, a warrant is issued in your name, arrest is made.
- Social Security Number (SSN) identity theft – Somebody uses your SSN to get employment without your consent. In such a case, the person who employed the thief record and reports salaries earned under your SSN hence making you pay for the income taxes resulted by these earnings. There is no doubt that losing your SSN to crooks can deny you some benefits that are life sustaining.
- Medical identity theft – Are you looking to have your blood check for HIV but don’t want it to be included in your personal medical record? Or you really don’t want to pay for surgery? Well, Use another person’s identity. You think it is impossible and awkward? Quite the reverse, it’s all easy. Due to this – false information on your medical record, you can easily be denied health coverage or worse lose your health insurance.
- Driver’s license identity theft – An individual can commit a traffic offence using your name and later fail to appear in court. As a result, a warrant for your arrest is issued.
A real situation. Sara’s driving license was stolen by an identity thief who was later arrested for careless driving. And now because of the poor driving record her license is suspended and she is at risk of losing her auto insurance.
- Credit identity theft – An identity thief can use your personal information to access loans, goods, or even services without paying the bills. The unpaid bills accumulate hence leading to a poor credit report.
So am sure you are now convinced that an identity thief can easily ruin your life apart from just spoiling your credit report. No one is immune. A report given by the Identity Theft Resource Center, indicates that there have been about 120 disclosed cases of data breaches since the beginning of 2005. This means that about 53 million people will be at danger of losing their identity to thieves. Take note that this number could even be on the rise as reported by the FTC, revealing that over 25,000 people lose their identity to crooks every single day.
There is no guarantee that anyone’s information is 100% safe. So long as companies and medical facilities and many other employers have your personal information, you will always be a possible target. It is always very simple. An employer can always willingly give out your information, or it can be stolen from him. A certain cellular phone company had the same experience after some of the employees were caught creating fake accounts. These falsified account were used by identity thieves to ring up hundreds of thousands of dollars just in calls.
Being proactive is basically the only thing you need to do when it comes to safe guarding your identity. This will save you a lot of frustration, time and even expenses trying to restore your identity. Other things that you may do to ensure you identity is intact are; always shred you mails and don’t always walk with your SSN card with you. Additionally, nonstop monitoring of your credit is one of the best and easy way of watching your credit regularly. Always learn to report any suspicious activity you notice in your credit report.
So what happened if you lose your Identity to thieves? Below I have highlighted some of the most unique and less known consequences.
Five Lesser Known Consequences of Identity Theft
I believe that everyone today knows about all the other basic penalties of ID theft. On most cases, the consequences are never hard to deal with, in fact, in small scale, they are very easy to deal with. For instance, well established banks and credit card firms are in the fore front to eliminate ID fraud. Even though their procedures are not fail-safe, they go a long way in making sure that taxpayers save a reasonable amount of money that would have otherwise been lost to ID thieves. On the other hand, we have consequences that can be very costly compared to all these other duplicitous charges.
Every individual needs to be vigilant and well informed of the consequences of identity theft. In fact it is much better to be prepared always.
- Job Applications and Background Checks
It is possible that ID thieves can ruin your chances of getting your dream job. Yes, you can be very clean with no criminal records but if your identity is stolen and used to commit crimes, then it will get in to records and every time a background check is done, it will always pop up. The worst thing is that you might be ignorant of such an occurrence. Well, not being hired after a successful job interview is normal. In fact, the employers never submit your background records right after an interview.
- Eligibility to Get Loans
FICO score can be greatly be affected by ID theft. Even if you always pay your bill I time, lenders can highlight you as high risk. This is when you will realize that buying a car or even house is not a routine anymore. As a matter of fact, it will be one of the almost impossible things to do. You will have to suffer the consequence of bankruptcy and clear all your loans.
- Ability to Find a Decent Place to Live
Many rental communities today have terms and conditions on leases for potential tenants. It is very common for anyone with a criminal record especially sex offenders to be denied the ability to stay in a particular area. Similarly, roomies regularly conduct a background checks on outsiders. All you need for your application to be thrown out is just one unusual report.
- Difficulty Pursuing Graduate Education
You will agree with me that higher education has become extremely competitive today. And for this reason, Graduate-level programs frequently carry out background and credit checks to determine the applicant’s character. In most situations, admissions officers don’t have enough time to go through all the applications presented to them. So, a mediocre credit report or criminal record is enough to land your application in the trash can. And you certainly will never know the cause.