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The Identity Theft Alphabet

October 15, 2007 by Rachel
   Identity theft is a serious problem.  Over 10 million Americans have already been victimized by this crime and there is the potential for millions more to fall victim to it.  The terms and concepts listed below will help you become aware of some of the main components of this growing problem. 

Adware - These programs are one way that ID Thieves are able to install programs that assist them with obtaining personal information. Annual Credit Report - The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act allows all adults to obtain 1 free credit report from each of the 3 major credit reporting agencies every 12 months.  Background Check - This process is sometimes used by people who suspect they may have been victims of criminal identity theft.  Even if there is no suspicion of ID theft, a background check can indicate that criminal ID theft has or is occurring. Bank Fraud  Billing cycle - Paying attention to charges and whether or not credit and bank statements are received in a timely manner is one of the ways that ID Theft can be discovered.  "Botnets" C "Cloned" Web Site - Cloned sites are created to mimic authentic web sites and can be used to obtain personal information needed to steal someone's identity. Credit History  Credit Freeze - One of the tools available to attempt to prevent unauthorized access to your credit accounts. Credit Report - This is a document that you can access to monitor your identity and make sure that it has not been stolen. Criminal Identity Theft - This is one of several types of identity theft. D Department of Justice (U.S.) - This department prosecutes federal cases of ID Theft. Dispute Letter - Once you determine that your identity has been stolen, there are several steps you must take to begin repairing the problem.  A dispute letter is sent to all your creditors to dispute any fradulent charges. Document Shredder - Many people use document shredders to dispose of any documents they receive that contain personal information. "Dumpster Diving" E Encryption - Technique used to transmit personal information safely so that it cannot be stolen. Embedded Link - These types of links can be dangerous when used in e-mail scams seeking to trick people into providing personal information to thieves through fraudulent web sites. Equifax - 1 of the 3 main credit reporting agencies Experian - 1 of 3 main credit reporting agencies Extended Fraud Alert F Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act Fair Credit Reporting Act Federal Trade Commission - This is the primary consumer protection agency in the country. Financial Identity Theft Firewall - One tool used to secure personal computers and computer networks Fraud Alert G H I Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act - This is the main ID theft law of the U.S. Identity Theft Report - This is the form that must be filed with the Federal Trade Commission by people that believe they have been vitimis of identity theft. Identity Theft Resource Center Initial Fraud Alert - "An “initial fraud alert” does not require you to provide a copy of an official “identity theft report” and stays on your credit records for at least 90 days. This is the kind of alert to use if you think you might be a victim but you’re not sure – for instance, if you lost your wallet or you find out that someone has gotten access to the customer records at a place you do business." Impersonation Report - This report is filed in criminal identity theft cases to establish and verify the identity of the victim. J Jurisdiction - Depending on where the identity thief is located, jurisdiction could be an issue when tracking, prosecuting and resolving identity theft cases. K Keystroke Logger - A software tool that is used to steal passwords and otherforms of personal information from computers. L Limited Liability M "malware" N O Opt Out Option - This refers to a process that allows you to NOT receive promotional and/or solicitous offers.  Since prescreened credit card offers are one way that identity thieves can steal your identity, you can go to P Police Report - Before an identity theft case can be initiated, a police report must be filed in the location where the victim maintains their permanent residence. "phishing" - All Internet users should be aware of the practice of "phishing" and delete any suspicious e-mails they receive that ask them to give personal information. Personal Information -any identifying information that can be used to gain access to an individual's private accounts, records, etc. and/or that can be used to open new, unauthorized accounts in that person's name Q R Restitution  Rootkits S Security Freeze - A tool to help protect victims of identity theft and, hopefully, prevent identity from occurring. "Shoulder Surfing" Skimmers - the process of stealing credit card information during a legitimate transaction; can be done by using a skimming machine or a variety of other methods Social Security Number Spyware Spam T Transunion - 1 of the 3 main credit reporting agencies in the U.S. U Unauthorized charges - charges made on any account by anyone other than the primary account holder and/or authorized users of that account. V Victim - the person or persons whose identity has been stolen Viruses W Written Records - all aspects of any identity theft case need to have accurate and complete written documentation.  Unfortunately, once the theft has been discovered, the victim is likely to bear the burden of proving that they are the one that has been victimized and wronged.  Accurate written records will assist with this process. X Y Z