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Expanding Services To Reach Victims of Identity Theft and Financial Fraud
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Publication Date: October 2010
NCJ 230590
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Office of Justice ProgramsOffice for Victims of Crime
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Identity Theft and Financial Fraud

Identity theft and fraud are crimes in which an impostor gains access to key pieces of personal identifying information (PII) such as a Social Security number (SSN) and driver’s license number and uses them for personal gain or to commit other criminal activities. In the case of true name identity theft, the thief goes beyond stealing the victim’s assets and actually assumes his or her identity. Identity theft may begin with a lost or stolen wallet, pilfered mail, a data breach, a computer virus, phishing, a scam, or paper documents thrown out by an individual or a business and retrieved by a thief (dumpster diving).