One of the most predominant crimes today is identity theft. It has more than 10 million victims annually with various governments and federals trying everything possible to come up with intervening laws that will protect consumers. While several people have been threatened a couple of times by identity thieves, there are quite a few that have made the bold steps to equip themselves against this kind of crimes.
Conversely, another growing crime is credit card fraud. A loss of about 10 million dollars has been incurred by credit card frauds, and more shocking is that this figure is just from individual consumers.
But is there any difference between identity theft and credit card fraud? Well yes! And this basic difference certainly involves scope. Credit card fraud is a crime committed by a thief who makes purchases that are not authorized using someone else’s credit card information. On the contrary, identity theft is a variety of methods used by identity thieves to steal an individual’s personal information with an intention of committing fraud.
Credit Card Fraud
One of the most well established credit companies defined credit card fraud to be; when somebody steal’s another individual’s credit card information and makes falsified purchases or even charges.
So, what is the common use of credit fraud? Once they have obtained the targeted personal details, they take over existing credit card accounts, open new credit lines and start spending money like they don’t care anymore. Continue reading to have a clear insight if the many tactics that identity thieves apply when committing credit card fraud.
Opening New Accounts
Equipped with your personal information for instance name, Social Security Number, date of birth, fraudsters can easily impersonate you just to open new credit lines. They also get an advantage of applying for new credit cards using the victim’s name or sometimes steal prescreened ones from their mail boxes. Most targets are not aware new credit cards have been taken under their names until they start receiving calls and emails from different debt collectors or denied loans simply because of low credit score.
Stealing Existing Accounts
Apart from opening new lines of credit, most identity thieves can opt to use the fraudulent information to take over existing accounts. They make this possible by using the personal information of their victims to verify the fake identity as the real one. After this, the thief changes all the details of the account i.e. PIN’s, and the mailing and billing addresses. Once an account has been taken by an identity thief, it become very hard to win it back to the rightful owner before the impostor causes financial havoc.
By simply using portable card reading devices, fraudsters are able to steal information from the cards of victims within a very short time. This crime is normally very subtle that victims only get to notice about it when seeing abnormal charges on their credit cards statements. Anybody with a habit of giving employees at stores or even restaurants his credit card risks being a possible target. Other skimming devices can also be implanted into ATM slots. They assist identity thieves acquire the crucial card information. It is very hard for casual observers to notice these devices.
Phishing and Vishing
Phishing is a trick used by most identity thieves to make victims innocently give their personal information. They can even go to an extent of sending fake mails that appear to come from banks and other known websites. Some thieves send out e-mails that appear to be from banks or popular web sites. They give links that when clicked give you an option of entering your personal details before verification. There are those scammers that personally call their victims to get these information. This verification is commonly referred to as “Vishing.” Here, the fraudsters pretend to be representing IRS or the personal bank of victims. They then request victims to verify their bank and personal details or in some cases give a phone number where the info can be entered just with a touch tone phone.
If anyone uses someone else’s credit card without authorization then that is fraud. Credit card fraud is now becoming very common and lucrative. To always be safe, never give out your personal information over the phone. Also, avoid so much clicking on emails contained in the internet. Make sure that you only pay with your credit card when it is very necessary. And learn to stick with trustworthy businesses. Additionally, make sure you monitor your credit card statement. This is because some fraudsters may make small charges that aren’t alarming. If in any case you realize suspicious activities on your bill, immediately contact your card issuer.
Identity Theft Defined
On the other hand, identity theft is in different forms and require much more than you credit card info and their energy is never focused on credit fraud alone, but also many other kinds of id theft such as medical identity theft and criminal identity theft. Some may opt to use personal information of others just to avoid the rule of law whilst comfortably living using other people’s identity. Others, mostly illegal immigrants use fake social security numbers to get legit jobs.
So, are there causes and effects of Identity theft?
Certainly yes! Identity theft is now more than ever becoming a major concern all over the world and more developed countries. Below are some of the common effects and cause of this widespread crime.
Firstly, here are causes of identity theft:
No dong that your wallet is the key to your bank accounts, credit cards and even most of your personal information. Wallet theft may in all probability lead identity theft crime. The moment you realize that your wallet is stolen, you need to immediately report to the relevant authorities and cancel all your active bank accounts and active credit cards. Most ID thieves are very quick and will make sure all is changed before you even know it so you really have to act speedily the moment you realize your wallet is missing.
Spamming is today very common to almost everyone that uses the internet. Confirmation email that claim you have won the lottery just to get your personal information has become a regular irritant. So be vigilant and don’t respond to spam emails, and if you notice that something is sounding just too good to be true, then most likely it is.
Post Office Mail
The mail box is also very sensitive. At times ID thieves can take mails from your mailbox without your consent and obtain personal information. They might even go to an extent of changing your address by filling out the change of address form. Well, this is certainly something that you may not realize until it is too late. So each time you’re your bills or reports delay to arrive, immediately get in touch with the authorities involved. Instead of throwing away mails that possess your personal details, always shred them. Several identities are stolen out of a trash can, so ensure you don’t join the long list of such victims.
Effects of identity theft:
The short term effects identity theft are criminal activities in your blameless name and of course financial losses. Emotional trauma, poor credit history, rejection of promotion at work and many others are some of the long term effects associated with identity theft.
These are effects that exist for a short period of time. You may see your credit cards get cancelled, higher rates of payment for your insurance in the near future, extra banking fees and many other financial losses.
Emotional stress of ID theft may top the list of the most overwhelming effects of ID fraud. Most of the victims always have to undergo cancelling after being affected and others become unreasonably paranoid about protecting their private information.
Who is involved in all this? Identity theft and credit card
Most cashiers and clerks from department stores are the identity thieves and credit fraudsters. A good example is when you get to pay for a purchase, you give the cashier your card who “skims” over it to obtain the credit card information which later on use against you.
Computer hackers are also notorious ID thieves. They mostly hack into They often hack into online records and use them for their own gain. Normally they pass through the backdoor of just a website to acquire information that most likely belong to unprotected individuals who have very little knowledge when it comes to operating computers.
These criminals who hoax most internet users to reveal their personal data through fake websites and forged logins. They also send email to several people claiming that they are legitimate representatives of banking institutions. They normally request for your private info and after you replying with all the necessary information, they use it for their deceitful activities.