Identity theft & credit fraud  
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Identity Theft Glossary


History of Identity Theft

Identity Theft is not a new crime; it has simply mutated to include new technology such as ATMs and transactions on the World Wide Web. The first forms of identity theft merely involved the stealing of a person’s identification. Before the advent of credit cards in the 1950s this usually meant the thieving of a person’s passport or social security card. You could not obtain a credit card unless you applied for it in person with photographic identification. It was either that or your bank manager would vouch for knowing you personally so you could obtain credit. This made occasions for identity theft far less frequent but the obtaining of credit much less convenient and fast. 

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Your credit card did not so much become a way of procuring all of your financial information until the early eighties when the Fair Isaacs Organization developed the FICO system of credit scoring. This system of rating a person’s credibility was often supplied in the form of a report that often also contains other sensitive and private personal and financial information. Once an identity thief gets a hold of your credit report they can often also find ways to access your bank account and credit card account. 

The automation of both credit card and banking transactions has also made it easier to steal a person’s identity. A credit card is almost always used nowadays as part of a way to verify a person’s identity.  If another person has it in his or her possession and can display it to pretend that he or she is you, then your identity is successfully stolen. This also enables the criminal to steal money from you by opening up new credit card accounts and running up charges on them. 

The only good thing about identity theft in the present day and age is that there are more resources to cope with the crime. Also, unlike the first days of the Diner’s Club card in the 1950s, you are only liable for the $50 of the stolen amount regardless of what the credit card company does.


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