5 Types of Identity Theft Not Related to Credit Card Fraud

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Anyone who has kept up with the latest news headlines would know that identity theft is on the rise.  Proactive consumers know the value of educating themselves on identity theft and monitoring their credit.  However, many consumers forget that identity theft is not just credit related fraud or credit card theft. There are growing numbers of identity theft crimes that have nothing to do with credit at all. While reviewing credit reports and keeping an eye on your various credit card statements can be key in detecting credit related fraud, it's important to note that identity thieves have realized that stolen data can be used in a number of ways that will not necessarily appear on your credit report. 

Here are 5 types of identity theft not related to credit fraud:

1. IRS Tax Fraud is a type of identity theft where thieves use someone else's social security number to file a tax return.  IRS has seen a fivefold increase in this type identity theft from 2008 to 2010.  The news that someone had already filed a tax return using her social security number was a shock to Sarah Madunicky.  Madunicky, like most victims of IRS tax fraud, didn't realize her social security number had been taken until her actual tax return was rejected. Unfortunately, glaring red flags did not stop the IRS from processing the phony tax return. It often takes months for victims to receive a refund and that's not the worse part.  The criminals usually get away with it and victims typically never learn how their information was stolen or if it will be used again.   

2. Criminal ID Theft occurs when a criminal's crimes end up on an innocent person's record. Victims of this type of ID theft, usually learn of the crime when they are mistakenly arrested for a crime they did not commit.  For victim Charles Velasquez, the identity theft cost him his job and led to his arrest.  This scary form of ID theft is one of the easiest to pull off and it can only take a few days to create a nightmare for victims.

3. Employment and Non reported Income Fraud victims are told that they owe taxes for wages they didn't earn in states they haven't been.    A Rhode Island woman found that she was the victim of this form of ID theft after the IRS claim that she would have to pay back taxes.  Thieves use a fake name and social to obtain employment. The victim files their tax return only to be told by the IRS that the have additional income that they did not report.

4. Medical ID thieves use their victim's personal information to gain medical care.  The victim's medical record is often difficult to clear. This form of fraud would make it difficult for a victim to find a job or receive the appropriate medical care.   After she kept getting the cold shoulder from possible employers Vicki Blair decided to do a little digging.  According to her medical records, Vicki was a drug addicted, alcoholic.  Blair is one of a growing number of medical identity theft victims. 

5. HELOC or Home Equity Line of Credit victims learn that this type of expensive fraud has taken place and in many cases, still are forced to pay off the line of credit. This form ID theft happens when thieves use false information to get a home equity loan. This was the case for Mike Calcutt, who was told that he would have to pay back on the loan and late fee of about $88,600.

Even with the growing number of ID theft cases, victims can go through the ringer before their identities (or bank accounts) are restored.  Identity theft is growing.  And, the crimes have moved beyond credit related fraud. One data breach, one tech-savvy hacker, one rogue employee, stolen wallet, misplaced phone, or missing laptop can quickly turn into a costly and time consuming nightmare. Using stolen data to create fraudulent, debit cards, passports, birth certificates, or phony tax returns are only a few of the many ways thieves use stolen data and will not necessarily be detected by monitoring credit reports.

Just as we can't predict when an illness will wreak havoc in our lives, we can't predict if and when an identity theft will rob us of our time, money, and peace of mind.  All we can do is prepare as best we can. Today's id protection services that now utilize technology to detect and alert us to suspicious activity and misuse of our data, and be there to repair any problem if need be, can go a long way in reducing the risk and impact of fraud. 

Protection against identity theft does not prevent identity theft, but it can sure make it easier to live with if--or when--it happens to you.

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