click on image above to download the Identity Theft Brochure
Get your free credit report by calling
or on the internet at: https://www.annualcreditreport.com
How Identity Theft Can Ruin Your Good Name
It can take a con only minutes to destroy a solid credit record that may have taken you years to build.
Identity theft, a growing problem, ( 700,000 victims in U.S. last year ) occurs when a con artist appropriates anotherís name, address, Social Security number or other identifying information and uses that information to open new credit card accounts, take over existing accounts, obtain loans in the victimís name or steal funds from the victimís checking, savings, or investment accounts.
"Identity theft" is defined as the use, transfer or theft of personal identifying information for the purpose of committing a crime. This is to be contrasted with "identity fraud," which is one of the crimes for which identity theft might be used such as the theft of money, services or products through the use of someone elseís identity.
Another good resource is the Federal Trade Commission. Click the image below to go to their Identity Theft site.
A lost wallet is just one way identity thieves can steal your personal information and wreak havoc with your personal finances. Others methods include:
fraudulently accessing your credit report by posing as an employer, loan officer or landlord;
"shoulder surfing" at automated teller machines (ATMs) and phone booths to capture your personal identification numbers (PINs); compiling info from internet accessible records; stealing mail from mailboxes to get newly issued credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information; and going through trash bins for credit card and loan applications.
Victims of credit identity fraud go through a difficult and time-consuming ordeal to convince lenders and credit reporting agencies that they have been the victim of identity theft, have the erroneous information removed from their credit reports and prevent future damage from the perpetrators.
Consumer victims who turn to law enforcement also report having difficulty obtaining help. Criminal laws for the most part do not recognize wronged consumers as victims of identity theft. Typically, consumers have little evidence that they themselves did not incur the charges of identity thieves. The majority of victims do not even know how their identifying information was compromised.
In addition, creditors who can write off losses and pass them on to other consumers in the form of higher interest rates, fees and costs may not pursue identity thieves. Even when creditors refer cases to law enforcement, consumer advocates and victims report that cases that do not meet significant dollar thresholds (typically $50,000) fall through the cracks.
The U.S. Secret Service defines identity theft as using another personís name and social security number for fraudulent purposes, such as to purchase goods on credit. A larger-scale version is whatís called identity takeover, in which thieves use the victim's identity and credit to open bank accounts, apply for credit and even take out loans.
Federal law prevents identity theft victims from being held liable for bills incurred by imposters. Consumers, however, can spend months, and even years, in repairing the damage to their good credit.
A variety of abuses of the bankruptcy system, including the concealment of assets in bankruptcy, the making of false sworn financial statements in bankruptcy proceedings, and the filing of bankruptcies under false social security numbers are often dubbed "identity fraud" by prosecutors and government regulators.
Cons attempt to obtain the benefits of bankruptcy such as relief from debt collection, while attempting to escape negative credit consequences.
In one case they leased a residence and obtained credit with the name and social security number of an unsuspecting victim then they occupied the residence, ran up the credit cards, then filed for bankruptcy in the victimís name. One bankruptcy petition was filed in the name of a recently deceased father.
Such fraudulent bankruptcy filings often wreak havoc on innocent people who must spend substantial resources to clear their credits and their names. The rampant theft and abuse of other peopleís credit histories and social security numbers has become one of the biggest problems of consumer bankruptcy fraud.
Most Wanted Butte County
Law Enforcement Agencies
Terms & Conditions
Butte County District Attorney's Office. All rights reserved
Butte County's Most Wanted Butte County Courts Butte County Law Enforcement Agencies Butte County Probation
Copyright 2005-2013 © Butte County District Attorney's Office. All rights reserved