Identify theft is a vary scary, time consuming and life changing crime perpetrated by criminals who have put down their guns (or shoplifting, mugging people, etc for a keyboard.
In this society, where one must give a credit card, social security number, drivers’ license and etc to gain access to an office building, get a loan, rent an apartment, get a job or buy a car, criminals are stealing YOUR identify and using it to as their own to purchase things, finance criminal enterprises and etc.
Unfortunately there is LITTLE you can do. But some things you can do are to be VERY cautious who you give your information to. Check your credit card statements VERY carefully. Get and check your credit report on a regular basis.
The New York Times writes – About 10 million Americans fall victim each year to identity theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission. And in about a third of those cases, victims see far more than their existing credit card accounts tapped. Their private information is used by thieves to open new accounts, secure loans and otherwise lead parallel and often luxurious lives.
For victims like Mr. Fairchild – and two others who recounted their troubles and shared their sometimes vast paper trails – it can be an unnerving, protracted whodunit, with collection agents demanding payment for cars they have never driven, credit card accounts they never opened, loans they never obtained, and myriad other debts accrued by shadowy versions of themselves.
Prosecutions are rare, and police investigations – when they do happen – are time-consuming, costly and easily stymied. A 2003 study by the Gartner Inc. consulting firm suggested that an identity thief had about a 1 in 700 chance of getting caught.