The Difference between Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

One of the scariest realities that people have to deal with in the modern world is identity theft and fraud. Both involve the loss of personal information and the use of personal data, but the two are not the same thing. The distinction between credit card fraud and identity theft may sometimes be a distinction without a difference, but someone who suffers identity theft will wish that they were only victim to credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud occurs when someone uses someone else’s credit card information to make unauthorized purchases. The thief might have acquired the credit card number in any manner of ways, from phishing schemes, dumpster diving, theft of a wallet or purse, credit card skimming or any other imaginable way.

Credit card fraud can be a result of identity theft. Identity theft occurs when the identity thief acquires personal information and uses it to assume the victim’s identity. Driver’s license information, social security numbers, legal document, and anything with personal information can be used by the identity thief to assume an identity.

Credit card fraud is relatively easy to handle since the theft is limited to a single card and company. Contacting the company as soon as the victim is made aware of the theft is incredibly important as there are legal limitations to hat can be disputed.

Identity theft has a broader affect since it involves stealing an entire identity. The worst aspect of this is that it could be months or even years before the victim is aware that anything is amiss. When an identity thief acquires enough information they can apply for credit and redirect the victims mail.

Now equipped with credit cards issued in the victims name the thief can start abusing the victims credit. By redirecting mail the thief can acquire existing credit cards and prevent the victim from ever knowing about the theft.

Credit card fraud and identity theft have a lot in common. Both involve the theft of personal information and both involve the victim’s credit. Credit card fraud is an isolated incident with a single or a few credit cards and/or companies. Identity theft involves the assumption of the victims identity by the thief. Using this identity the thief has access to a great deal of information and the ability to acquire new credit cards.

In this electronic age these types of theft have become very common. Protecting personal information is very important and there are things that can be done to prevent this type of loss. Credit card fraud is a hassle and can be costly, identity theft could take months to control and may never be fixed.