Identity theft and identity fraud are two terms often used interchangeably. However, it is important to keep in mind that although identity theft and identity fraud often go hand in hand, they have different meanings and implications. Understanding the main differences and similarities between these two terms is critical when it comes to defending against false allegations or protecting yourself against cybersecurity threats. In this informative article, we will provide valuable insights regarding these concepts and their consequences.
Identity theft is a type of crime that occurs when someone obtains the personal or financial information of another person without their permission, typically for financial gain. The information acquired may be used to steal money, open credit accounts, make health insurance claims and other actions. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. According to the National Council on Identity Theft Protection, reports of identity theft have skyrocketed in recent years, jumping from 3.34 million in 2019 to 5.74 million in 2021. Some of the most common types of identity theft include financial identity theft, medical identity theft, synthetic identity theft and tax identity theft.
In today’s digital age, identity theft is usually committed online. However, it should be noted that there are other ways in which a person’s identity may be stolen. Below, we will list some of the most common ways in which identity theft is committed:
Identity fraud is a distinct type of criminal activity that occurs when an individual or group uses stolen personal information to engage in fraudulent or otherwise illegal activity, impersonate someone else for financial gain, or other malicious purposes. While identity theft involves the unauthorized acquisition of personal information, identity fraud involves the subsequent misuse of that information. In other words, identity theft is often considered the first step in committing identity fraud.
In cases of identity fraud, stolen personal data is used to engage in fraudulent activities, financial crimes or other malicious acts. Some of the most common forms of identity fraud and activities that are considered identity fraud include:
Having delved into the intricacies of both concepts, we hope this gave you a clear understanding regarding the differences between these two important terms. In essence, identity theft may be considered the initial act of stealing personal information, while identity fraud is the subsequent illegal activity that occurs once the stolen information is misused for financial gain or other malicious purposes. Moreover, it should be noted that identity theft means the theft of personal information, which is then used to impersonate you in some way, such as opening new accounts or filing tax returns under your name. Identity fraud, on the other hand, involves misuse of someone else’s account.
Have you fallen victim to identity theft or identity fraud? Have you been falsely accused of committing identity theft or identity fraud? Attorney at Law is here to help. Reach out to one of our specialized attorneys today.