What an Identity Thief Can Do

Common Fraud Practices

After capturing your personal information, they may use it in a variety of illegal ways. Common fraud practices include:

  • Opening a new credit card account: Once a thief has your personal information, they can open an account in your name and have the card and bills routed to another location. The thief will makes purchases, but the bill will never arrive at your home. In this case, you may not find about the crime until notified by a collection service, you apply for credit and are denied, or you pull a copy of your credit report and you see the activity.
  • Taking out a loan to buy a car or other expensive items: Much like credit card fraud, you often will not know of the activity until you experience some type of negative credit or collection action.
  • Using an existing checking account: They may use your information to write fraudulent checks or use your debit card. Having the PIN makes it easy to take cash out of an ATM, but even without it, he or she can still make purchases in a store by choosing the “credit” option, shopping online or purchasing by phone.
  • Charging goods or services on an existing credit card account either in person, online, or over the phone. 
  • Obtaining government benefits or using your health insurance: They may apply for such things as Social Security benefits, foods stamps or pretend to be you and provide your insurance information to pay for their own medical care.