Identity theft is not a theft per se, but rather identify fraud, identity cloning, or more accurately, impersonation. However, most people are familiar with the term identify theft and understand what it means. This term made its first appearance in the vernacular in 1964.
Those who commit this type of fraud are pretending to be someone else typically in order to steal money or resources in the name of their victim. The consequences of someone else assuming a person’s identity can be monumental, and victims may sustain significant financial losses, as well as other consequences. The businesses who accepted the credit cards or other documentation from a fraudster will also suffer financial losses.
There are a number of types of identity theft, and they include, but are not limited to:
- criminal identity theft (criminal identifying himself as someone else on arrest),
- synthetic identity theft (identities completely or partially made up),
- medical identity theft (using another’s name and medical insurance to obtain treatment),
- child identity theft (minor’s social security number used by another), and
- identity cloning and concealment (con artist impersonates someone else to hide his or her true identity).