If you are a person who has a rather cavalier attitude about personal identification documents or data, then this article is for you! You must be aware of identity theft and the major problems that it can cause for the victim. This is not an issue that only wealthy people need to worry about because it is not just money that can be stolen or misappropriated using stolen identity. In fact, there are many types of identity theft and, even if you have no wealth to lose, there is still a lot of trouble that it can cause you. Being aware of identity theft facts and understanding the various ways in which you may be at risk helps you safeguard yourself more efficiently.
Financial identity theft
Talk about financial identity theft and the first thing that comes to mind is credit card theft. Lose your credit card and you may find that an unknown someone is running up some hefty bills that you may end up paying off. IRS identity theft is another identity theft risk that you should ward yourself against very carefully because this could have you losing out tax refunds, being called upon to pay huge tax outstandings and penalties that you do not owe and even attract legal action from the IRS for non-payment of taxes. One common starting point for IRS identity theft is the theft of your social security number, which is then used to file tax returns in your name.
Driver’s license identity theft
Considering that you carry it around practically all the time, the chance that you might lose your driver’s license or have it stolen is rather high. The point is that, if you do, things can get pretty messy for you. Usually, the stolen driver’s ID is ‘sold’ off to someone who looks reasonably similar to you (or your picture on the ID). If they are pulled over for a traffic violation, it is your driver’s ID that is shown to the cops. The violations go on your driving record, reducing your chances of getting cheap auto insurance and even putting you at risk of getting your license suspended.
Remember that the thief or whoever ‘buys’ your driver’s license can also hand it out wherever they need to show ID and that means, if they are caught carrying out any illegal activities, the authorities may end up looking for you instead.
Medical identity theft
Lose your medical identity and you are sure to face an uphill task fixing the many consequences that can emerge from this type of identity theft. Typically, medical identity is stolen so that the thief can access medical insurance coverage that you are entitled to or access substances or medications that may not be easily available or even treatment for substance abuse or psychiatric conditions. The repercussions of medical identity loss are manifold and not limited to mere monetary loss.
The financial consequences can range from you losing your insurance to having your insurance costs escalated dramatically. The non-financial repercussions include the entry of incorrect information, that pertains to the identity thief, in your medical records. This can cause a lot of confusion for physicians who treat you for medical conditions and it can even result in some drastic misdiagnosis and wrong treatment because your medical record actually shows data that is not relevant to you at all.
Knowing the different ways in which you may be at risk of literally and figuratively ‘losing your identity’ allows you to protect yourself better. You should also read up on how to report identity theft so that you can act quickly and start damage control measures as soon you are aware of the loss.