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What Is Identity Theft?

3 teenagers using phones

Let’s talk about a serious topic that affects millions of people every year: Identity theft!

Identity theft: the crime of using another person’s personal information, that happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. This info could be your name, Social Security number, credit card details, other identifying characteristics, or any other sensitive data.

Why would someone do this?

Well, unfortunately, there are people out there who want to use your identity to buy things, open credit cards, or even commit crimes. It’s like someone pretending to be you, which can cause a lot of problems. More than 20.7 million people were victims of identity theft in 2020. Victims include everyone – children, teens, and adults.

Here’s the scary part: you might not even realize it’s happening until it’s too late. Suddenly, you start getting bills for things you didn’t buy, or your credit score takes a nosedive because someone else has been racking up debt in your name.

Identity theft can mess up your finances big time. It can take months, or even years, to sort out the mess and get things back on track. Plus, it can be super stressful and make you feel like your privacy has been violated. But it’s not just about money. Identity theft can also damage your reputation. If someone commits crimes using your identity, you could end up with a criminal record or even get arrested for something you didn’t do. Imagine trying to explain that to colleges or future employers!

This is why it’s so important to protect your personal information like it’s gold. By staying vigilant and taking steps to protect your personal information, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to identity theft. When it comes to identity theft, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of peace of mind. Remember, your identity is valuable, so it’s important to keep it safe! Subscribe to The Money Mill Blog for ongoing tips & tricks on how to protection yourself from fraud and identity theft. Also, visit out Fraud & Theft Protection page for up-to-date information on current scams.