You might think all identity theft and fraud is the same – but that simply isn’t the case. While many traditional methods do follow similar patterns, there are new niches and specialist types of identity fraud popping up all the time. We’re going to have a look at three of the most popular types of identity fraud – so you know what to watch out for in order to keep yourself protected.
Financial identity theft
This is the most common form of identity theft and the one you’re probably most used to hearing about. In fact, it’s said to account for up to 50% of all identity thefts. But what is financial identity theft? Well, unsurprisingly – it’s associated with your finances and normally is normally an attempt to gain access to your financial (bank) accounts in order to defraud you.
Financial identity theft will normally be focussed on gaining access to your accounts in order to steal money, but criminals could also use your financial identity to take out loans or other debts. This could not only leave you out of pocket, but also affect your credit score.
In order to protect yourself against financial identity theft, make sure you know exactly how much you’re spending each month so you can spot any discrepancies. Check all your accounts regularly and keep your mail secure.
Government identity theft
By gaining access to your government data, criminals could commit fraud by using your identity to claim a range of different benefits, like unemployment and disability allowances. Fraudsters could also fill out false tax returns in order to gain rebates that you were entitled to. Victims of this type of fraud have often found themselves missing out on certain benefits and rebates because they’ve already been claimed.
Medical identity theft
By gaining access to your medical records or identity data, fraudsters could claim on your insurance or charge costly procedures to you. Medical fraud has been on the rise recently, with more and more thieves using it as a way of paying for otherwise expensive medical care. Not only this, but it could confuse your medical records to the point where they get mixed up with those of the “fake” you – making diagnosis and further care more difficult.
How can you protect against identity theft?
Simple measures like protecting your passwords and always checking your mail are important. Some people like to shred all important documents rather than simply throwing them in the trash, as anything with your name and address on could be used against you. You could also do some research into the best identity theft protection, for that extra level of security.