Identity Theft

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Definition of 'Identity Theft'

Identity theft is a serious crime that can have a devastating impact on its victims. It occurs when someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud or other crimes.

There are many ways that identity thieves can get your information. They may steal your credit card or debit card number, your Social Security number, or your driver's license number. They may also steal your personal information from your trash, your mailbox, or your computer.

Once they have your information, identity thieves can use it to open new credit accounts, make purchases, file taxes, or even get medical care in your name. This can lead to financial problems for you, such as debt, ruined credit, and even criminal charges.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. First, you should contact the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and place a fraud alert on your credit report. This will make it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. You should also contact your bank and credit card companies and let them know that you may be a victim of identity theft. They can help you close any fraudulent accounts and protect your credit.

You should also file a police report if you believe you have been the victim of identity theft. This will help you to document the crime and start the process of recovering your identity.

Identity theft is a serious crime, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself. By being aware of the risks and taking precautions, you can help keep your identity safe.

Here are some additional tips to help you protect yourself from identity theft:

* Shred all documents that contain your personal information before throwing them away.
* Keep your Social Security number and other personal information confidential.
* Be careful about what information you share online.
* Use strong passwords and security measures on your computer and other devices.
* Monitor your credit report regularly for any suspicious activity.

If you have any questions about identity theft or think you may be a victim, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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