Identity Fraud vs Identity Theft

Identity fraud is usually limited to an isolated attempt to steal money from an existing account – such as a charge on a stolen credit card.

With identity theft, a thief uses stolen personal information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number, to open accounts or initiate several transactions in your name. This may cause financial loss or damaged credit.

In general, identity theft is more extensive than identity fraud. If fraudulent transactions occur on your account, it does not automatically mean your identity was stolen. It may be an isolated incident of theft that can be quickly resolved.

Where does identity theft and identity fraud happen?

The majority of identity theft and identity fraud occur offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting mail, and rummaging through garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves use to obtain personal information.

How can you protect yourself?

Learn more at the following sites:

• Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/guard/index.html
• Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
• Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov/pubs/idtheft.htm
• U. S. Department of the Treasury/OCC: http://www.occ.treas.gov/Consumer/phishing.htm