identity_theftWhen someone steals another person’s information and uses it without permission, it is considered identity theft. Even though identity theft is a non-violent, white-collar crime, it can create considerable havoc on the victim’s credit history, financial reputation, and overall financial well-being. The best way for someone to protect against identity theft is to safeguard his or her personal information and learn to recognize signs of different types of identity theft.

Tax-related identity theft
Your Social Security number helps the IRS accurately and completely file your taxes. If someone steals your personal information, it can negatively impact your tax return processing. If you receive an unexpected notice or letter from the IRS, this could be a sign that someone else has been using your Social Security number. However, a red flag of a fraudulent IRS message is being contacted through email, text, or social media message.

Child identity theft
Thieves can use a child’s Social Security number to apply for governmental benefits, credit card accounts, or loans. For this reason, you should order an annual credit report to ensure that no one else is using your child’s Social Security number. Getting collection calls or bills in your child’s name or receiving a notice from the IRS that your child didn’t pay income taxes are all signs that someone is using the SSN.

Medical identity theft
Your medical and insurance statements will show warning signs that someone else is using your health insurance number. You can check for medical identity theft by reading the Explanation of Benefits Statement or Medicare Summary Notice you receive following medical treatment. When looking through the statements, check the names of the provider, the date of service, and the type of service provided to ensure that they all match up with your actual treatment.

The Law Firm of Walter K. Schreyer takes a team approach when handling white-collar criminal cases. With the help of a former prosecutor turned defense attorney, we represent people charged with fraud, identity theft, and embezzlement.