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How Damaging Stolen Identity Can Be

Jan 19, 2008
Just recently, I received an email from a priest stating that his email address has been accessed by a different person. He added that the person who stole his email address uses it to solicit money from friends. The person even created stories like he had been abducted and is now trapped in an unknown island and needs money in order to survive. He ended his message by saying that he is safe and all right and there is nothing to worry about. He has no idea how it happened and apologized to those who might have fell for the unauthorized emails.

This is an example of identity theft. It may not have damaged the priest financially but if he hadn't known that someone else is using his identity to generate money, his reputation would have been greatly affected.

Identity theft is an illegal use of another person's identity. The usual objective of people who use someone else's identity is to steal money or acquire other benefits. One reason why people pretend to be someone else is to get away from a crime he or she committed. Another reason which may seem extreme is to assume the person's role and live his life. This is also happening in the business world, other businesses would use other organization's name to take credit for the other organization's achievements.

Unfortunately, identity theft can happen to anyone at any place or time. It chooses no one. An individual's identity may already be stolen without him knowing it. Most of the time, individuals only know that their information has been stolen when they could no longer apply for a loan or they have been sent bills for items they did not purchase. When these happen, it would be very difficult to undo the damage.

If you are a victim of identity theft then you should take actions immediately. If this involves credit cards, contact the agency who issued the card and insist that you speak with someone responsible for fraud protection. It is also important that there is a written complaint to document the proceedings of your claim to innocence.

It is best to ask for copies of credit reports from three chief reporting agencies. Verify and be certain that debts and loans included are those you have incurred. It is always better to file a police report. Retain a copy because creditors might look for proof that you have been a victim and not an irresponsible credit holder.

Identity theft is very damaging. It cannot only cause havoc on your finances but will also break the reputation you have taken cared of for years. Because of this, it is important for us to be mindful of our actions. We should be careful to whom we give our information. Thieves may just be waiting for us to drop a card or forget a paper containing our identification numbers.

In this fast paced era, the only ones who can really protect us from being taken advantage of, is ourselves.
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