The Most Common Types of Identity Theft

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common types of identity theft

A big part of identity theft prevention is knowing the different types of identity theft that can ruin your credit and make your personal, professional, and financial life difficult for a very long time. It's in your best interests to become familiar with the most common types of identity theft, since knowledge is the best defense against becoming a victim.

To that end, here are the most common identity theft types:

  • Opening a new credit account or using an existing one
    This is the most common type of identity theft by a large margin, because it gives thieves the easiest, fastest access to other people's money. If a thief can obtain a victim's credit cards, he or she can quickly make cash withdrawals and purchase items to the account's limits.
  • Opening an account with a cell phone provider or other utility
    Opening new accounts with cell phone providers allows a thief to rack up big phone bills in the victim's name — and on the victim's dime. A few pieces of personal information can also make it easy to open accounts with gas and electric service providers and other utility companies.
  • Opening a new checking account or writing checks from an existing account
    Merchants are getting better at protecting themselves from bad checks, but this type of identity theft is still quite common, as a thief can use bad checks to pay bills and string creditors along for months.
  • Obtaining loans in the victim's name
    If a thief can obtain a victim's address, Social Security number, employment information, and other personal information, getting a modest loan of a few thousand dollars is a fairly straightforward affair. In many cases, the thief will say the loan is for a used car, and if the victim's credit is good, he or she can get a small loan of several thousand dollars pretty quickly.

Knowing the most common identity theft types, making it as difficult as possible for thieves to get your personal information, and using an identity monitoring service are all great ways to protect yourself and your credit rating from thieves. Without a doubt, knowledge is your best weapon in the fight against identity thieves — so get informed, and start to proactively protect your personal information.

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