Identity Protection

Location: Scotts Valley, CA, United States

Monday, April 23, 2007

What is Identity Theft?

What is Identity Theft?

We are all proud of our name, our reputation and our accomplishments. We are each unique. We each have our very own distinct identity.

We have all been annoyed when someone took the credit for something we did. It might have been a misunderstanding by the coach, teacher, parent or boss that caused
the problem, more than the other person who got all the praise. You are just annoyed
that they bask in the glory of the moment when you think they really should turn and
deflect at least some of the credit on to you. You soon learn its part of life, and to “just get over it” and move on. It usually doesn’t really matter in the bigger scheme of things.

The problem becomes much more serious when your identity is not just borrowed for
a moment, but is actually deliberately stolen and used for profit by someone else.
Worse, there may be serious consequences for you personally. You may incur
financial losses. You could have a black mark placed against your reputation, socially, in your work place, when you want to access credit in future, or even legally in the form of a criminal record.

You could face severe difficulties just getting on with the routines of your life.
Insurance, bank and lending companies may not wish to do business with you, or
impose tough terms. You may find it difficult to get a job. It may be difficult for you to rent a home. Foreign countries may not admit you as a visitor if the records show you are a criminal. You could face big bills from having to engage identity theft lawyers to protect your reputation.

You may well have every right to feel aggrieved. These kinds of identity theft are
crimes, and you become a victim of crime. Nevertheless, the processes to recover
your losses and put your reputation right will probably move very slowly, and perhaps
at great emotional cost and financial expense to you. And this process will take place for you at a very intimate and hurtful personal level, because it is your personal reputation that is at stake.

The problem for those in authority is deciding who, in fact, is the perpetrator of
identity theft - you or the thief. Put yourself in their position: both you and the identity thief seem to be the same person. We all have rights, even thieves pretending to be you, and we are all assumed to be innocent until proven guilty under our legal system.

Until you or an investigator can show clear evidence one way or the other, and until
those in authority accept you are the “real” you, and what you have or have not done,
then you may feel under suspicion as the thief yourself. You may find it necessary to
engage an identity theft attorney. Expect to be somewhat frustrated as the wheels of
justice slowly grind away to sort out these questions. And expect it may take several
years to fully clear your records of the damage an identity thief can do to your

It is very wise to take what measures you reasonably can to prevent your identity
being stolen in the first place.

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