The short answer is that identity theft is a crime. Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for their own financial gain.

Many people do not realize how easily it is for criminals to obtain our personal data without having to break into our homes. Protection of personal information must be a top priority for all of us. It is important to recognize the warning signs of identify theft.

The Federal Trade Commission’s website lists several Warning Signs of Identify Theft.

Some clues to be aware of are:

  • You receive notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
  • You find unauthorized bank and/or credit card account transactions.
  • You are receiving bills for accounts you didn’t open.
  • You are not receiving your bills or other mail.
  • Debt collectors are calling you about unknown outstanding debts.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or inquiries on your credit report.
  • You find medical providers billing you for services you did not use.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.

In the event that you encounter any of these warning signs or if your wallet, social security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.

While there are many paid resources available, there are also FREE resources available to everyone. The US Government provides information and resources to help identity theft victims through the maze of recovery.

For more information on identify theft visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website at:

Tonya McCaughey

VP, Area Sales Lead