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Identity Theft

One of the most circulated pieces of advice is to never give out your social security number.  What’s behind the fear?  Identity theft.

An exact definition of identity theft is “a crime used to refer to fraud that involves someone pretending to be someone else in order to embezzle money or gain other benefits.”

When identity theft occurs a person can suffer tremendously if held responsible for the actions of the thief.

There are 5 types of identity theft to be aware of:

1.  Financial Theft:

A thief will successfully impersonate the bank account holder and gain funds from the actual back account.  A financial thief can even establish a new account using another person’s identity to use their credit.  In extreme cases a thief will have funds rerouted to a new address.  This type of financial theft is called: “financial account takeover.”

2.  Identity Cloning and Concealment

This is when a criminal impersonates another individual in order to escape authorities.

3.  Criminal Identity Theft

In criminal identity theft the criminal indentifies himself to the police using a false identity.

4.  Synthetic Identity Theft

Synthetic identity theft is combining real facets of an individual’s identity such as their social security number, name, address, ect. with false identifiers.

5.  Medical Identity Theft

Medical identity theft is the use of someone else’s identity to obtain medical or insurance benefits.

Common ways thieves hack into your identity:

– Intercepted mail involving bank statements, credit cards, checks

– Rummaging through trash

– Abuse of employer authorization

– Loss of a wallet or purse

– Unsecured online records

If any of the aforementioned happens to you immediately you should: Contact your credit card companies immediately and file a police report.

Here a couple of numbers to call:

Contact the 3 major credit card bureaus and put a “Fraud Alert” on your account.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289 

Social Security Administration (fraud line) – 1-800-269-0271

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-438-4338

Remember to stay alert, shred all confidential documents, and don’t give out information anywhere that is not secure.

If you do experience identity theft you are entitled to a lawyer.  Please contact: The Law Offices of Michael Palumbo and Mark Kosofsky for representation.  By phone: 914-777-2990