Top articles on fraud

What happens when your identity is stolen? How bad can it really get?


Having your identity stolen isn’t just costly in time and money, it can also lead to false imprisonment, life-threatening false medical records, and much more. 

In the hands of a thief, just your name, address, Social Security number and date of birth, can be used over and over to:

  • Open new lines of credit
  • Seek medical attention
  • Drain savings and retirement accounts
  • Provide an alias when arrested
  • Get a job and file false tax returns

How Your Identity Can Be Misused

  • Credit Card Fraud

    Card Fraud:
    Opening store or bank credit is just one way that thieves can use your identity to illegally reap financial reward. Cloned debit cards obtained using skimmers are becoming more common thanks to high-tech techniques.

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  • Loan Fraud/Payday Loan Fraud

    Loan Fraud/Payday Loan Fraud:
    With payday loans, you may not know that someone has used your identity to illegally obtain cash. Thieves can open these types of loans in multiple states, racking up a huge debt using your personal information.

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  • Government Documents Fraud

    Government Documents Fraud:
    From Social Security cards to birth certificates and drivers licenses, illegally obtaining and selling government documents is big business for thieves.

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  • Benefits Fraud

    Benefits Fraud:
    In today's healthcare climate, pirated insurance benefits – thieves using your personal information to obtain medical care – can earn a high sale price for industrious thieves.

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  • Other Identity Fraud

    Other Identity Fraud:
    Medical, criminal, and insurance records are not things you typically think to monitor. But opportunistic thieves can exploit your good name for all it's worth.

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  • Bank Fraud

    Bank Fraud:
    Nowadays thieves don’t have to hold you up at gun point to take your money. They can pilfer your bank account information and clean out your savings before you know it.

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  • Phone Fraud

    Phone Fraud/Utilities Fraud:
    Service agreements for cellular service or utilities are common means for thieves to profit at your expense–using your personal information.

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  • Tax Fraud

    Tax and Wage Fraud:
    Enterprising thieves will try anything for profit, even forging tax returns in your name to get your refund.

    Learn More

Federal Trade Commission. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For
January – December 2011.” February 2012.

Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report: Social Media and Mobile Forming
the New Fraud Frontier." February 2012.