Identity Theft

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DEFINITION of 'Identity Theft'

The crime of obtaining the personal or financial information of another person for the sole purpose of assuming that person's name or identity in order to make transactions or purchases.

BREAKING DOWN 'Identity Theft'

Identity theft is committed many different ways. Some identity thieves sift through trash bins looking for bank account and credit card statements; other more high-tech methods involve accessing corporate databases to steal lists of customer information.

Once they have the information they are looking for, identity thieves can ruin a person's credit rating and the standing of other personal information. Many types of identity theft can be prevented. One way is to continually check the accuracy of personal documents and promptly deal with any discrepancies.

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