is Identity Theft?
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines identity theft as the use of someone's personally identifying information, such as a name, Social Security number, or credit number, without that person's permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. According to the FTC, as many as nine million Americans are the victims of identity theft each year.
An identity thief can do substantial harm by accessing other confidential information, such as a telephone calling card number or bank account. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that many have reported that unauthorized persons have taken funds out of personal bank accounts, and even taken over individuals' identities altogether, to run up vast debts and commit crimes. The victim's losses include not only out-of-pocket losses, but additional financial costs that are entailed in restoring the victim's reputation in the community and correcting erroneous information spread by the identity thief.