Identity theft is a serious crime that occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses your personal information, like your name, Social Security number (SSN), or credit card number, to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity thieves may use your information to open new accounts in your name — checking, savings, credit card, or other types of accounts — and run up debts that you’ll be responsible for paying.
Identity thieves may also steal your identity to commit medical fraud and get prescription drugs. This can lead to problems with your health insurance coverage and the bills you have to pay.
Identity thieves use the money they make from these crimes to buy things like electronics, cars, and fake IDs. They also use this money to pay off outstanding debts they have on credit cards and other accounts that they opened using stolen identities. If an identity thief is arrested, their crimes will be listed on their criminal record forever – even though it wasn't them who committed them.