Identity Fraud vs. Identity Theft: Know the Difference

Although the two are often used interchangeably, identity theft and identity fraud are, in fact, separate issues.

Identity theft can cost you thousands of dollars and countless hours to fix. When people think of identity theft, more often than not they assume it’s from a data breach or a compromised social security number. The truth of the matter is, identity theft isn’t exclusive to one reason. There are several common ways thieves can get at your information. But what about identity fraud? If you’re diligent about protecting yourself from theft, isn’t it the same thing as protecting from identity fraud? Believe it or not, these are two different things, although they are closely related. Here’s what you need to know.

Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when a thief has access to enough information about someone’s identity, such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses, to commit identity fraud. Identity theft can take place whether the fraud victim is alive or deceased.

Identity Fraud

Identity fraud can be described as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.

If you’re a victim of identity theft, it can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on your personal finances and could also make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved.

Follow these tips to help decrease your risk of identity fraud and identity theft:

Protect your Social Security number. A Social Security number is the Holy Grail of data for identity thieves. Don’t be afraid to inquire as to why you are being asked to reveal your Social Security number and how your information will be protected once it is documented.

Check your credit report. Your credit report activity can often reveal early signs of identity theft. Talk with the credit bureaus about suspicious activity on your credit reports.

Protect your children’s personal information. Ensure that your child’s official documents and other forms that include his or her personal information are stored in a secure place.

Use a shredding service. Shred all documents with sensitive information before throwing them away. Thieves can go through your garbage to find these documents and steal your information.

Legal Shred can help you protect your identity through our routine document destruction services. As the identity protection company, it is our mission to keep our customers secure and safe. We can destroy any document, whether it’s old passports, licenses, financial documents, medical records, and any other document that contains sensitive information, ensuring that it can never be read or used again. Let’s get started today.


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