Like the thieves behind the crime, identity theft can take on many disguises depending on the information stolen. When identity theft goes undetected, these crimes can not only cost victims their money, but also their health and well-being. As each kind of identity theft could be more deadly than the next, here are three types of identity theft to avoid:
Child ID Theft
- What makes it dangerous: Thieves often go after children's identities through stealing data from schools or even taking their relatives' information. Children will likely not know they were victims until they are denied for their first loan, credit card or even housing because of a poor credit history. This blemished credit report could cause them to be denied new lines of credit, which could stunt their financial wealth.
- How to avoid this identity theft: Check your child's credit scores by requesting a free credit report and dispute and close any unauthorized accounts that were opened.
Medical ID Theft
- What makes it dangerous: Although consumers may think their medical information is not a target for cybercriminals, health care companies are becoming increasingly targeted. Data breaches in the health care sector could result in your information falling into the hands of thieves who could then use this data to take advantage of medical services. A report by the Ponemon Institute found medical identity theft rose 22 percent in 2014, resulting in patients' health information potentially being mixed up with thieves', which could lead to potentially deadly medical mistakes, NBC News reported.
- How to avoid this identity theft: Always read the data privacy statement your health care provider gives you before agreeing to the terms and monitor your accounts in case of fraud.
Tax ID Theft
- What makes it dangerous: Tax fraud through identity theft is an easy way for criminals to make money. In 2013, the IRS gave out $5.8 billion in fraudulent tax refunds, ABC News reported.
- How to avoid this identity theft: File your income taxes early each tax season and shred any and all documents with your personal information.
While medical identity theft is dangerous in almost every aspect of your well-being - from a health to a financial stand point - these other types of identity theft could also pose a threat to your or your loved ones' futures. By protecting your personal information, you could help curb this crime and prevent yourself from becoming a victim.
Patricia Oliver is a fraud operations team leader at CyberScout.