Your identity is who you are. How can someone steal that? By getting important information about you, then pretending to be you. This can cause you lots of trouble.
If a crook finds out your name, address, birth date and Social Security number, they may be able to pose as you. How could they get this information?
They may steal your wallet, purse or mail. They may take papers from your home. They may pose as someone who has a right to ask you for this information (like a government worker). Some even look in garbage bins for old credit card bills and other papers.
Then they can open bank accounts and get credit cards in your name. Or they may get a phone or electricity. If they don’t pay their bills, it will go onto your credit rating.
How can you stop this from happening? Of course, you have to be careful about giving out important information. Here are some other things to do:
Don’t carry your Social Security card with you. Carry only the ID and credit cards you’ll need.
You may be asked for your mother’s maiden (family) name. In English-speaking countries, this does not appear on your ID. But it can be easy to find out. Use a password instead.
Know when to expect your bills. A crook can get your credit card number, then make a fake “change of address” so your bills go to them, not you. They buy things with your card and you don’t find out for a long time.
If your identity is stolen, call the police. It’s important to act quickly.
Copyright Manna Computer Services, Inc. Reproducible for personal or classroom use. Images by Clipartisland.com, used with permission.