Identity theft and identity fraud refer to types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another individual's personal data in a way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. Personal data—such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and bank account or credit card numbers—can be used by someone to personally profit at the victim's expense and are even used to commit crimes under the victim’s name. Technological breakthroughs and the globalization of commerce have provided today’s con artists with a new arsenal of weapons they use to defraud consumers.
The following resources address the topics of fraud and identity theft and identify ways to recognize and report these crimes. They also provide tips for how individuals can reduce their risk of becoming victims.