Identity theft remains a growing concern in the United States. Everyone is a potential victim. Criminals steal your identity by using personal data about you such as your name, date of birth, and social security number. Thieves use this information to open charge accounts, order merchandise, borrow money, or change identities.
Anyone with a social security number is at risk, even children. Birth certificates, mothers' maiden names, driver’s licenses, canceled checks, and other financial documents all provide the identity thief the opportunity to steal. Financial gain is the obvious motive of identity thieves, while others may seek to escape poor employment and credit histories, or the law.
Victims of identity theft spend months or years cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of their good names and credit records. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities; be refused loans for education, housing, and cars; or even be arrested for crimes that they did not commit.