The 6 Types of Identity Theft

#1 New Account Fraud

Using another’s personal identifying information to obtain products and services using that person’s good credit standing. This fraud often requires use of the victim’s Social Security number. Opening new utility, cell phone and/or credit card accounts are the most prevalent forms of new account fraud.

#2 Account Takeover Fraud

Using another person’s account numbers, such as a credit card number, to obtain products and services using that person’s existing accounts or extracting funds from a person’s bank account.

#3 Criminal Identity Theft

Someone commits a crime under another person’s name. The thief, in the act of the crime or upon arrest, poses as the identity theft victim. Often the perpetrator will have a fake ID with the victim’s information but the imposter’s picture.

#4 Medical Identity Theft

The deadliest form of identity theft.  Medical identity theft occurs when someone uses a person’s name and/or insurance information—without the person’s knowledge or consent—to obtain medical services or goods, or to make false claims for medical goods or services. Medical identity theft frequently results in erroneous entries being put into the victim’s medical records, which in turn may lead to inappropriate and potentially life-threatening decisions by medical staff.

#5 Business or Commercial Identity Theft

Using a business’s name to obtain credit or even billing those businesses’ clients for products and services. Perpetrators who commit business identity theft are often insiders — current or ex-employees — with direct access to operational documentation, who pad the books in favor of their scheming.

#6 Identity Cloning

Encompasses all forms of identity theft. The thief is actually living and functioning as the victim on purpose. They may be hiding in plain sight due to the fact they are running from the law, evading child support or they could be mentally ill.

It is important to observe basic security precautions to protect your identity. However, the safety of your information with corporations and other entities that you transact business with is very often beyond your control. Consumers should consider an identity theft protection product that offers daily credit monitoring, proactive identity surveillance, lost wallet protection, and alerts when suspicious activity is detected on your accounts. McAfee Identity Protection includes all these features, in addition, to live help from fraud resolution agents if your identity is ever compromised. For more tips on protecting yourself, please visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee Consultant and Identity Theft Expert. See him discussing how to protect yourself from identity theft on

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